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Notes

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Maes’s most innovative genre motif was the interior with the eavesdropper who exposes the peccadilloes of other members of the household. Here a housewife invites the viewer to witness the misbehaviour of the servants below stairs, whose dalliance not only allows the cat to lick the plates on the kitchen floor but also leaves the guests unattended and hungry in the dining room above. The theme of admonition, suggested by the picture of Christ top left, is reinforced by the manipulation of space and light which contrasts the probity of the dining room with the moral and physical descent towards the heated kitchen.

The Wallace Collection

London


Date

1656

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 84.7 x W 70.6 cm

Accession number

P224

Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, after 1857; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type

Painting


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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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