The Milkwoman

Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693)

This is a companion painting to The Eavesdropper, and part of a series of paintings by Maes which show saleswomen in front of houses, many of which depict milkwomen.

The gateway shown in the picture to the left is in Dordrecht, where the artist lived until 1673.

A woman from the countryside can be seen entering, her yoke hung with milk jug and pail, a scence that could have been found in most Dutch towns.

The old woman leaning out of her door is carefully counting her coins which in turn are being scrutinised by the milkwoman who dominates the canvas.

The painting dates to the mid- to late 1650s.