The Courtyard of a House in Delft – Pieter de Hooch

14hoochI love the Dutch masters. Here is Pieter de Hooch’s “The Courtyard of a House in Delft.” The scene is consistent with the way de Hooch always portrays feminine domestic space – a courtyard where all sorts of domestic tasks are performed. But his work also tends to include open doorways revealing the world beyond.

What touches me in this scene is the elements of engagement and disengagement so prominent in the two women and the child. The woman standing in the passage way, and the broom in the courtyard, which seems to have been cast aside, really catches my eye. Is she waiting for someone? Is she looking out on and longing for a world beyond the immediate and mundane? Is she the one who tossed the broom aside in protest against her confined surroundings? I wish I knew.

It got me thinking; do we not at times look out on the world like this as if we were simply spectators; do we live in passageways of inertness and meaninglessness when we find it difficult to integrate the mundane in to the longings of our souls? Are these passageways not the very places where we begin to do that work of integration? I wonder?


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Art, Beauty, Contemplation, inspiration, Paintings and Comment, Poetic Imagination, Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The Courtyard of a House in Delft – Pieter de Hooch

  1. Healthy A-Z says:

    I definitely see it as the latter. When we are still, we have the ability to hear our soul speak, and that gives us the opportunity to integrate our whole self into our daily lives.


  2. nrhatch says:

    Interesting painting, Don. I see the broom as child-sized. The child has abandoned her assigned task and gone in search of something more communal. Her mother says, “ja . . . you may help me collect apples in your apron.”


  3. Multiple interpretations. Varied opinions. I wish I knew, too, Don. And through unique lens, each of us may see and feel elements the painter never intended. The mystique of art appreciation. 🙂


  4. Lorem Ipsum says:

    The painting definitely asks more questions than it answers, Don. Here’s to the integration of more meaning and forward motion into our lives, I say!


  5. theINFP says:

    I like this too, it’s is so real. It reminds me of the times as a child I played in the back yard of my grandmother’s house in Birmingham 🙂


  6. wisejourney says:

    I was lucky enough to see this in the flesh at an exhibition in the uk 2 years ago… Love all the paintings of the period and style… So real…so true


  7. Yes…. learning to integrate what might seem “mundane” in to the longings our souls…,nicely phrased…
    Maybe learning to transform the sense of “mundane” into inspiration or blessings?


  8. We find it difficult to integrate the mundane in to the longings of our souls?….this is lovely!!!!


  9. Dani Lynn says:

    So thoughtful. Your ‘assumptions’ sound accurate. – Maybe knowing about the artist and the life he led would give insight into what he may have been thinking or observing when he painted it. You say “his work also tends to include open doorways revealing the world beyond.” There’s always a story on the other side of the canvas too, right?


    • Don says:

      You’re so right Dani. I think the artist’s context is crucial to understanding her/his work. Just love what you say in your last sentence. thank you for your comment.


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