A Peasant Girl from Alkmaar

The sheet depicts a smiling maiden standing aside a rustic wooden gate with an iconic Dutch windmill at her left. Behind her cows graze in the field and a church spire punctuates the flat horizon. Made during a time when the Northern Netherlands was struggling to establish its independence from Spain and assert its own national identity, this drawing aggrandizes a Dutch maiden from Alkmaar by according her status equal to that of the ancient sea nymph Galatea. Dominating the Dutch pastoral landscape with her arms akimbo and direct gaze, the proud maiden shows off her distinctive Dutch costume.

Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown ink framing lines (about 1621)

by Willem Pietersz. Buytewech (Dutch, 1591-1624)

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