Private Collection, Florida
Bernard de Hoog began his life as a merchant. He taught himself to draw and refined his technique by studying nature, and drew inspiration from Old Masters such as Pieter de Hooch. Through commissions he received from dealers, de Hoog made just enough to afford paying his models. In 1886, during his first showing in Amsterdam, he garnered public admiration for the naturalism and believability of a painting entitled A Sermon in the Dungeon. He later matured into a dedicated painter of country life and peasant houses.
Upon seeing an exhibition of Dutch painters, which likely included the work of de Hoog, the 19th century critic Richard Muther wrote:
As soon as the Dutch are seen in any exhibition, its rooms are impregnated with a sense of peaceful clarity and of quiet sureness of effect recalling the Old Masters.
These artists handle the scenes of life and the life of nature with a dignified simplicity, the charm of profound intimacy and cordial tenderness. These painters are united by a tender sentiment of home.
A master of composition and color, de Hoog was able to suggest various moods and created a multitude of effects through his delicate tones and intimate scenes. He often depicted rustic scenes of domesticity, such as mothers performing housework while surrounded by children. Set within a quiet domestic interior space, our painting, Meditation, catches the meditative moment of a woman in the midst of her sewing. A large window illuminates this intimate interior. de Hoog’s delicate brushwork captures the sunlight reflected in the woman’s red dress, as well as a silver platter, and turquoise pitcher on the table beside her. The rich colors add to the warmth of this inviting scene.