In Dutch artist Gabriel Metsu’s painting of a Public Notary, an older figure leans out of a stone window ledge holding a large folio of loose paper. Directly engaging the viewer, he seems to cross the threshold between an inner and outer world, or a private and public space. Dutch artists favored this illusionistic motif in the seventeenth century, yet Metsu’s innovative portrayal offered a distinctive contribution to this tradition. This 12-minute talk explores the Public Notary, offering a window into its subject, context, and clever pictorial deception.
Lara Yeager-Crasselt is the Curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art. She earned her BA from Vassar College and her PhD in art history from the University of Maryland. At The Leiden Collection, she oversees scholarly research and exhibitions, and in 2020 became co-editor of The Leiden Collection Catalogue (www.theleidencollection.com). Previously, Yeager-Crasselt held positions at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and at KU Leuven as a Belgian American Educational Foundation Fellow. More recently, she also served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art at Vassar College. Yeager-Crasselt is the author of the book Michael Sweerts (1618–1664): Shaping the Artist and the Academy in Rome and Brussels (Brepols, 2015), as well as numerous articles on the art of the Netherlands and Italy in the early modern period.
Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania
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