Although the early work of Barend Graat (1628 - 1709) reminds one of the Italianate landscapes by Pieter van Laer, and his historical works and allegories too are strongly influenced by the contemporary Italian classical style, he is mostly known for his detailed and finely painted genre pieces and portraits, reminiscent of Gerard ter Borch and Jan van Noordt. Graat often placed his figure groups againts a garden- or landscape setting.
This painting from the circle of Barend Graat can be dated circa 1710. We are grateful to costume historian Irene Groeneweg for suggesting this date, based on the particular costumes and headdresses the portrayed are wearing. It is most likely a familyportrait of a vicar with his wife and children. Vicars did not yet wear toga's at that time, but a wide black cloak with a white flattened collar. Even more characteristic are the headdresses the women are wearing: a late variant of the 'fontange', which was made out of short folds layed out to the front. Also typical are the funnel-shaped sleeves with the 'engageantes', the white linnen inner-sleeves.
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