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Gallery Text

Based in Amsterdam, Santvoort painted portraits that painstakingly document his sitters illuminated against a dark background. Pictured here is a young woman wearing a high-waist gown in black silk with a bobbinlaced partlet (a decorative garment that covers the neck and upper chest), which is layered under a matching kerchief, a square fabric folded diagonally and worn around the shoulders. The scallop pattern of these fabrics is echoed in the edges of the coif and cuffs. The sitter’s ribbons and stomacher, woven with silver and gold threads and glistening with light, underscore her wealth. Along with the folding fan and pearl necklace and earrings, these sartorial elements were highly fashionable from the mid-1630s into the 1640s.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Dirck Dirckszoon van Santvoort, Dutch (1610/1611 - 1680)
Portrait of a Young Woman
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Elisabet de St. Gilles, betrothed to N. van Lier
Work Type
c. 1635 - 1640
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on panel
63.5 × 52 cm (25 × 20 1/2 in.)
framed: 95.6 × 85.8 cm (37 5/8 × 33 3/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Bequest of Hetty L. Shuman Kuhn
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Exhibition History

32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/17/2018 - 01/01/2050

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at