Dutch masters 2 - Nicolaes Maes


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The next master is Nicolaes Maes (or Maas), 1634-1693, who studied with Rembrandt. His most famous work is this "old woman praying":


A larger and more detailed reproduction can be found at:


You can almost hear the silence, only broken by the soft scratching noises of the cat, especially when you see it in reality (it's fairly large: 134 cm x 113 cm). Despite the religious note, I find the quiet dignity of this painting much more inspiring than all those bright "heroic" and "exalted" paintings, the admiration of which seems to be de rigueur in Objectivist circles.

Here is another painting by Maes, Old Woman Dozing:


and "Girl at a Window":


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  • 5 months later...


I have been going through this entire thread fixing links and images from the July 17-27 black hole hack disaster, and I came across this painting again. I looked at your other links and liked what I saw so much I expanded them.

The thing that most called out to me in these paintings is the complete sincerity and lack of guile on the faces. Very haunting. I see a certain type of simple focused serenity that I hold in high value.

Achieving this state is probably one of the benefits of prayer and why the practice has been so popular throughout mankind's history in lieu of other forms of worship.

Maes captured that spirit perfectly. I have even known simple serene people like the first woman. Madalena, whom I wrote about, was one, although not as old. (It just dawned on me while writing this that Madalena is the reason this painting has haunted me.)

Beautiful work.


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