|Two Boys and a Girl Making Music, 1629, Jan Miense Molenaer. |
There appears to be a family resemblance.
|Self-portrait in His Study, Jan Molenaer|
|The Family Portrait, 1635, Jan Miense Molenaer. Painted some six years after the triple portrait at the top, the three central figures in black appear to have aged appropriately.|
Art historians suggest Jan Molenaer and Judith Leyster may have met when both were students of the famous Dutch portrait painter, Frans Hals. There is certainly an element of Hals' style and content in some of Molenaer's paintings, though not so much in that of his wife's. While Judith Leyster is probably the most highly regarded female artist of the Dutch Golden Age, Molenaer may well best be known as simply her husband. Leyster's genre and portrait works are such that until around 1893, they were all attributed to her probable instructor, Frans Hals.
|Jan Miense Molenaer Self-portrait, 1640|
|Judith Leyster Self-portrait,|
The two artists' self-portraits (above) suggest they were a lighthearted couple. Both were members of the Haarlem Painters' Guild. Leyster at times even took on apprentices. Molenaer is probably best remembered for his "Five Senses" paintings, one of which, The Smell, had me laughing out loud when I first saw it. So far as I know, no other artist has ever, before or since, depicted the changing of a diaper. The other four, The Touch, The Taste, Seeing, and Hearing, are all delightfully lower-class character studies, but where The Smell is concerned, Molenaer's obvious sense of humor may have taken genre painting to a new level.
|The Smell, 1637, Jan Miense Molenaer|
|The Taste, 1637, Jan Molenaer|
|The Touch, 1637, Jan Molenaer|
|Seeing, 1637, Jan Molenaer|
|Hearing, 1637, Jan Molenaer|
|The Artist's Studio, 1631, Jan Molenaer.|
|The Village School, 1634, Jan Miense Molenaer.|