Rogier van der Weyden’s Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin (about 1435–40) is arguably the greatest early Netherlandish painting in North America. Placed at the entrance to this gallery, it introduces the MFA’s entire suite of Dutch and Flemish art and provides a conceptual starting point for “Dutch Specialties.” Many of the genres Dutch artists became famous for exploring in the 17th century were initially elements in sacred paintings by Van der Weyden and his 15th-century contemporaries. The gallery features self-portraits and artists in their studios, flower still lifes, architectural painting, head studies (called “tronies” in Dutch) and portraits, and painstaking depictions of textures by Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris, and Gerard ter Borch, among others.
Two highlights are Maria Schalcken’s Self-Portrait of the Artist in Her Studio (about 1680), which was previously attributed to the artist’s brother and teacher, Godfried Schalcken, and Still Life with Flowers (1709) by Rachel Ruysch, who is now considered one of the greatest Dutch still life painters. These pictures are complemented by superb decorative arts in silver, including important examples of Judaica, such as the oldest Dutch Torah finials known in the world. There are also fine ceramics and a selection of medals.
- Robert and Ruth Remis Gallery (Gallery 244)