Netherlands Clothing Fashions in 16th-17th Centuries

In the painting made by Pieter van der Werff, a young boy sits, playing with a toy three-master, which is a three-masted ship, hence the name. The boy holds a bright red string that is attached to the toy boat, indicating that wheels are attached to the bottom of the ship. On the highest mast, the ship flies a Netherlands flag, indicating that this is where the boy is located. The boy has shoulder-length blond hair and is wearing a red beret with three white plumes protruding from it.

He wears a deep blue velvet shawl and a yellow and light blue suit with lace sewn from the collar down and the cuffs of his sleeves, with jeweled buttons down the middle. All of the things that the boy is wearing and his physical traits indicate that he is from a wealthy family and is of European descent because both his physical traits and clothing fashion were common in the Netherlands in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds.

There is also a small lion on the back of the ship. The scenery behind him comprises a forest setting and the evening sky with the sun setting in the west. The oval frame has palm fronds carved into it in such a way that they appear to jump out from the stone.

The artist most effectively uses color to create texture and show the time of day. For the sky at the top of the painting, the painter uses sapphire blue mixed with hints of grey indicating clouds, then as he moves down, he shifts to a lighter steel blue, then to trout grey, then finally to flaxen yellow, and all of these colors indicate the sunset or sunrise, suggesting that it is late in the afternoon, or early in the morning.

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For the boy’s suit, the painter used pigeon blue and royal yellow, and for the shawl, the painter uses prussian blue, using light and shadows to give the shawl a satin-like texture and shine. The painter also does this for the boy’s beret, using chilli red for the main color. He uses varying shades of black mixed in with other colors to indicate shadows, and lighter yellow mixed in with other colors to show where the fading light touches.

Considering that this painting takes place in the 16-17 hundreds in the Netherlands, and based off of the boys clothing, one can deduce that this boy is from a wealthy family in the golden ages of this country. The Netherlands were quite wealthy during this time period, and the toy ship that the boy has could represent the fact that much of their wealth came from it’s well organized market and shipping industry. The boy is the embodiment of the prosperity of the country. It was a young nation at the time, founded in 1581, which could be why the painter chose to paint a young boy. The country was quite wealthy due to the shipping industry, whis is what the boy’s extravagant clothes and three-master represent. The sun is going down in the background, symbolizing that the golden age of the Netherlands is coming to an end.

I believe that this painting is very valuable. Not only are the colors that were used very expensive, but also the symbolism and the history behind the artwork are very rich as well. I appreciate this painting because is is very deep and it shows that the painter put a large amount of thought into his work. Unless one were to do extensive research on the piece and understand all of the symbols hidden within it, most people would not give it much thought at all, leaving many of the messages that the painter wanted to send unnoticed. However, if one were to understand these symbols and understand the history that goes with them, they would come to have a greater appreciation for the work, as I have, and the would feel satisfied with their knowledge.

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Netherlands Clothing Fashions in 16th-17th Centuries. (2023, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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