Amsterdam 1650 - 1693 Delft
Canvas, 103.2 x 82.2 cm
Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague
The superb treatment of the different textures – the rough Persian rug, the soft garments of the two figures and the cool marble – all betray Verkolje’s masterly hand. But this work is more than just a well-crafted portrait of a prosperous couple. The extensive detail, which can have both a decorative and an emblematic function, marks it out as a genre piece. The trees with their crossed trunks and intertwined crowns might symbolise the couple’s commitment to one another, and the water in the fountain can be seen as an allegory of the source of life, or a reference to fertility. In that context the grapes and other fruit on the platter, so prominently placed in the centre of the picture, will not be without significance. Are white and red grapes emblems of marital harmony? Indeed, perhaps the other fruit tells us something about conjugal fidelity too. Printed sources neither corroborate nor deny this.