Artist: Hendrick Sorgh (Dutch, Rotterdam 1609/11–1670 Rotterdam)
Date: ca. 1643
Medium: Oil on wood
Dimensions: 20 1/2 x 17 3/8 in. (52.1 x 44.1 cm)
Credit Line: Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889
Accession Number: 89.15.7
Sorgh was a prominent painter in his native Rotterdam, known for domestic interiors that combine elements of still life and genre painting. Here, two kitchen maids prepare a meal, their diligent activity contrasted with the amorous couple just visible between them. On the far right, a cat peers into a tub of fish, adding a further note of mischief to the scene. Contemporary viewers would have found such elements as the birdcage, plucked poultry, and earthenware pots erotically suggestive, at the same time as they might admire Sorgh’s skill in capturing surface effects.