Gerrit Dou (Dutch, 16131675)
Oil on wood; Arched top 10 x 9 in. (25.4 x 22.9 cm)
Bequest of Lillian M. Ellis, 1940 (40.64)
Rembrandt's first pupil, Dou became one of the most successful Dutch painters of the seventeenth century. His highly finished paintings reasserted the traditional Netherlandish concern for meticulous craftsmanship and established the Leiden School of fijnschilders (fine painters) that was continued by his pupils Metsu, Schalcken, and Frans van Mieris, and artists of the next two centuries. The Evening School probably extols the virtues of teaching (the light passed on) and practice (the sharpened pen), which, according to Aristotle, were a necessary combination for the achievement of knowledge. This small panel probably dates from the early 1660s.