The Astonishing Pieter de Hooch

For the April 2020 New Criterion, our skeptical doctor—using his real name, Anthony Daniels—has penned an essay on one of his favorite painters, the 17th-century Dutch artist, Pieter de Hooch.

But there was also a more private reason for my deep attachment to the painting, namely the beautiful and straightforward emotional calm that reigned between the two figures, their uncomplicated and unconditional love of one another—something that I longed for as a child but never had, instead continually experiencing the petty Sturm und Drang of domestic conflict. To the inherent melancholy of any capture of a beautiful moment that is fleeting (the child, so fresh and tender, so full of trust, would grow old and die nearly three centuries before I first saw the picture), I added a personal sorrow over the fact that I would never experience anything like the little girl’s quiet, careless rapture.

3 thoughts on “The Astonishing Pieter de Hooch

  1. Brian

    Is there a paywall? I’m unable to register an account and it seems you cannot read the article without logging into the NewCriterion site.

  2. Matt

    Not only a great art commentary by the good doctor, but a profound mediation and a reminder that amid our postmodern physical and moral squalor, there is still great beauty, if we are open to it. (Note: you do have to be a subscriber to see the full article.)

  3. David Seri Post author

    Excellent comment, Matt. That is so true.

    Brian — Please check the link again. I’m able to view the entire article on New Criterion without a subscription.


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