Exploration : Couple With a Globe

Couple With a Globe

Couple With a Globe, Lambert Doomer, 1684, Oil on Panel, Netherlands

Couple With a Globe is a painting made by Lambert Doomer, a Dutch painter, in 1684.  The Dutch were considered to be going through a Golden Age at this time, with large advancements in science, medicine and crafts.  The merchant class had recently expanded to trade with the Far East, and many of the raw materials used in Dutch goods were procured in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.  These materials can be seen in the jewelry and clothing worn by the couple depicted in the painting.  Dutch portrait painting was very popular during this period, as couples sought to express their status through expensive commissions done by popular contemporary artists.  In addition to their extravagant clothing, the globe is also an expression of their lifestyle.  Globes were a very new technology in the 17th century, and thus were very expensive.  Their interest in the item can be discerned through their close proximity to the globe, but by other cues as well.  The man in the painting is holding a compass, and is showing the woman how to chart the land.  Her gaze shows that she is interested, but the flower attached to her dress is another clue.  Carnations are widely used in painting to depict curiosity and admiration.  It is important to reiterate that the Dutch were heavily involved in overseas trade and possessed a large naval fleet.  A globe, along with mapping technology and knowledge of the skills would have been incredibly helpful for merchants in control of ships.  Doomer even painted several ships off the coast of Africa, clearly demonstrating the breadth of Dutch influence and control.  The wealth of the Dutch merchant class led to an increase in the commissioning of portraits and Dutch genre scenes, and many great examples were made during this period by greats like Rembrandt and Frans Hals.