A Milkmaid
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Aelbert Cuyp
Dutch, about 1642 - 1646
Black chalk, graphite, and gray wash
4 3/4 x 5 13/16 in.

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A young milkmaid stares saucily over her shoulder, engaging the viewer with her direct gaze. As she squats on the ground, she holds a large container between her knees and easily squirts in the milk. Aelbert Cuyp focused on the milkmaid's youthful charm, using only a few lines to suggest the large body of the cow looming in the background. With a rich mixture of chalk and wash and making liberal use of the white paper, he emphasized the play of sunlight and shadow over the female form. The creases on her sleeves and skirt fold softly around her body, emphasizing her sturdy frame beneath.

Cuyp probably made this drawing shortly before beginning a painting of the same subject. This work was so successful that Cuyp's students copied it several times.