The Van Moerkerken Family

Gerard ter Borch the Younger Dutch

Not on view

In this portrait of his cousin Hartogh van Moerkerken with his wife, Sibylla, and their son, Ter Borch broke with convention by depicting the wife on the left—traditionally the superior, and male—side of the panel. The composition is asymmetrical, lopsided, and dynamic, and the young husband’s gesture of showing a pocket watch to his wife gives the portrait an element of storytelling. This emotionally convincing depiction of a nuclear family signals a break with the dynastic imagery of previous generations, although an older tradition persists in the three coats of arms clustered in the upper left-hand corner.

#5243. The Van Moerkerken Family

The Van Moerkerken Family, Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Dutch, Zwolle 1617–1681 Deventer), Oil on wood

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