Woman Dressing

Abraham Bloemaert

Woman Dressing by Abraham Bloemaert


Abraham Bloemaert
Woman Dressing
oil on canvas
94 x 80cm
Stock Number

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P. van Wijk, Oosterbeck

Van Stockum?s Antiquariaat, The Hague, 19th July 1943, lot 28

Christie?s, Amsterdam, 29th May 1986, Lot 141.

Private collection, Holland

Private collection, England


Annual Collectors' Exhibition 2008, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, cat. no.2


Annual Collectors' Exhibition 2008, Malakoff Fine Art Press, Melbourne, 2008, pp.6-7 (illus)

Further Information

In this beautiful painting of ?A Women dressing?, a women is depicted holding her dress and looking at something that has caught her eye. She is clearly dressing for an important occasion and her hair has been carefully arranged and drawn back with a pearl headpiece. Her thick auburn hair has been braided into a ponytail with a red ribbon and rests on her shoulder. A single South Sea pearl, incredibly rare and valuable at the time, imported from the Dutch colonies in South East Asia, dangles from a gold earring. A four strand pearl choker hangs around her neck and she wears a fine golden silk dress with pink cuffs. The pale skin of her shoulders and décolletage shimmers in the sunlight coming from a hidden window upper left and contrasts with the pink healthy glow of her cheeks.
Abraham Bloemaert was one of the most important painters in Utrecht during the first half of the 17th century. His many prominent pupils included the Utrecht Caravaggisti. His family moved to this city before 1576 and Abraham?s early training seems to have been drawing under his father?s supervision. In c. 1582, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, he went to Paris where he would have been exposed to the French Mannerist decoration of the School of Fontainebleau. However, although there is no evidence that he was ever in Haarlem, there is a distinct debt to two Haarlem masters in his early drawing style:1 Hendrik Goltzius and Cornelis Cornelisz. The example of Goltzius, as an engraver, apparently encouraged him to draw designs for prints, even though he never made engravings himself.
Bloemaert was one of the greatest of the Northern mannerists and in this beautiful study of a woman he shows his mastery at portraying an unusually private and domestic moment.