In the Protestant Netherlands, themes which had traditionally been favored by Catholic artists, such as the Madonna and Child, were replaced by depictions of domestic virtue. This painting illustrates two qualities highly valued in Dutch culture: an orderly home and a nurturing mother. De Hooch favored this sort of subject matter during the last thirty years of his career. As is evident in this painting, he paid careful attention to the effects of natural lighting within a geometrically defined interior space. Depictions of Dutch women within the confines of the home were more than plentiful in the seventeenth century, but de Hooch's works are easily recognizable for the sensitivity with which he portrayed his figures of mothers with their children.
Artist Pieter de Hooch, Dutch, 1629-1684
  • Mother Nursing Her Child
Date c. 1674/1676
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 31 3/8 × 23 1/2 inches (79.7 × 59.7 cm)
Framed: 40 3/8 × 32 1/4 × 3 3/8 inches (102.6 × 81.9 × 8.6 cm)
Credit Line Gift of James E. Scripps
Accession Number 89.39
Department European Painting
On View Dutch Golden Age S380, Level 3 (see map)
Signed Signed lower right on rocker of cradle: P. d Hoogh
Marks NIEUWEN HUYS appears on the inside of the stretcher in chalk.
Comte Montgermont (Paris, France);
James E. Scripps (Detroit, Michigan, USA);
1889-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Catalogue of the Scripps Collection. Detroit, 1889, no. 74. [as Peter de Hoogh.]

Detroit Museum of Art Handbook of Paintings by the Old Masters. Detroit, 1910, pp. 43-44, no. 64 (ill.).

Bryant, L.M. What Pictures to See in America. New York, 1915, p. 234.

Bulletin of the DIA 1, no. 7 (1920): (cover ill.).

Detroit Institute of Arts Catalogue of Paintings, Sculpture and Contemporary Arts and Crafts. Detroit, 1920, p. 52, no. 44 (ill.).

Loan Exhibition of Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Detroit, 1925, cat. 7.

Brière-Misme, C. "Tableaux inédits ou peu connus de Pieter de Hooch." Gazette des Beaux-Arts (1927): no. 15, pp. 368-380, no. 16, pp. 51-79; 258-286, cited on p. 266.

Valentiner, W.R. "Pieter de Hooch. Part Two", Art in America, vol. 15, 1927, pp. 67-77, esp.

Valentiner, W.R. Pieter de Hooch, des Meisters Gemälde. Berlin and Leipzig, 1929, pp. 113, 282 (ill.).

Ninth Loan Exhibition of Dutch Genre and Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1929, p. xv, cat. 37.

Heil, W. "Holländische Ausstellung im Detroiter Museum." Pantheon 5 (1930): pp. 32-36, p. 34.

Heil, W. Catalogue of Paintings in the Permanent Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1930, cat. 104 (ill.).

Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Exh. cat., John Herron Art Muesum. Indianapolis, 1937, cat. 33.

Richardson, E.P., ed. Detroit Institute of Arts Catalogue of Paintings. Detroit, 1944, p. 63, no. 104.

Exhibition of Seventeenth Century Dutch Paintings. Exh. cat., McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario. London, Canada,1954, cat. 7.

Detroit Institute of Arts Checklist of Paintings. Detroit, 1970, no. 70.

Slive, S. European Paintings in the Collection of the Worcester Art Museum. Worcester, 1974, p. 108, note 3.

Sutton, P.C. Pieter de Hooch. Oxford, 1980, pp. 38, 108-109, no. 113, pl. 116.

Pursuits and Pleasures, Baroque Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, et al. Traverse City, 2003, (back cover ill.), pp. 10, 22, 23 (ill.).

Masters of Dutch Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2004, pp. 118-119.