MMA Art Gallery

A Dutch painter, Hendrick Sorgh painted A Kitchen circa 1643 or more than three centuries ago. This painting is only available for view online (Sorgh) and not in the museum’s art gallery featuring European artists. The medium is oil on wood. The painting depicts two women working in the kitchen who may be mother and a daughter. The only hint that the mother and daughter duo is in a kitchen is the fact that they are making preparations for making a meal.

The kitchen looks like just any other room and is quite spacious. One thing particularly struck me that even in those times, kitchen tiles used to be square. The daughter is peeling off a vegetable and standing by the window, probably to take advantage of the sunlight that is entering the kitchen through the window. While the daughter is surrounded by vegetables, the mother is surrounded by several freshly caught fish or that might have been come from the market.

As the mother cleans the fish, she suddenly notices a cat (possibly house pet) trying to steal one of the fish whose skin had just been peeled. There are several fish on the floor which may be the ones that still have to be prepared while the ones with the skin peeled-off can be seen in the metal plate on top of a cooking pot. We also notice that the mother and daughter duo, though probably Dutch, are wearing dresses that were still the norm in Europe in the 19th century which means fashion and trends used to change very slowly in older times. A careful inspection of the painting also reveals a bird cage hanging from the ceiling, with probably a parrot inside it. This painting is an interesting glimpse of the kitchen life in 17th century Netherland.


Sorgh, H. (n.d.). A Kitchen. Retrieved May 16, 2013, from*&deptids=11&pos=452