What’s Wrong With This Picture?

by | Art | 13 comments


Girl Chopping Onions (1646)
by Gerrit Dou (1613-1675)
Netherlands Baroque painter & draftsman
Student of Rembrandt

Beautiful picture, but something is definitely wrong.


  1. JenIG

    The dead bird in the house is what’s wrong. Don’t you think it would have been plucked and cleaned outside before she got ready to cook it?

  2. Tammy

    She’s not crying. Do you see *all* those onions??? I’d have swim goggles on if I had that many onions to chop.

  3. Milehimama

    Well, the “girl” looks like she’s pushing 30… maybe chopping onions with an iron does that to you.

  4. Christine Masloske

    I agree with all of the above oddities but I’ll throw in another possibility…the shading is not right on her face…the entire face in bathed in light but the source of light doesn’t seem to give off that much light. I’m not an artist unless you count my 2nd grade abilities as artistic. My 2yo and 5yo think they are great; my 9yo, 12yo, and 13yo think they are laughable!

    Love in Christ,

  5. Liz

    She’s chopping the onions in some sort of basket, as opposed to on the table top or a chopping board?

  6. Kim

    My daughter suggested she has an iron in her hand and the boys hat appears fancier than they could afford. I would also say it looks as though she is chopping onions with an iron and in some sort of a tub instead on a counter top or cutting board?

  7. Milehimama

    Actually, if that is some sort of large, round chopping board with deep sides… sign me up! I want one! No matter what size, my cutting board never seems big enough to cut tomatoes for 8 people for tacos…
    Although she seems quite messy, what with leaving pitchers laying all about, there’s no onion skins or mess laying about.

  8. Jul

    It looks like she has a snake on her head.

  9. Tammy

    I believe we have been left without guidance, waiting for the answer.

    We have interpreted the painting, critically analyzing, explaining, and expounding.

    It is important to know and understand what the painting means.

    If we all chose our own private way and took anything to mean whatever we desired it to mean, then how often would we agree?

    The bottom line is the differences among us would be due to our ignorance or misunderstanding of the meaning of painting.

    Who can speak with authority on the interpretation of this painter greater than Gerrit Dou himself?

    Natural understanding is not enough.

    About 51 hours and counting.

  10. Laurie Bluedorn

    Nothing profound here, but I observed the same thing as Tammy. I’d have driven everyone out of the house with that many onions. L.

  11. gena

    Oh. I was going to suggest that it was the lephrachan in the corner. I doubt I spelled that word right. But I think those wee creatures are generally only found in Ireland, and that painting looks VERY “Jan Vermeer”, Danish I believe. It appears to have a Netherlands setting so the lephrachan definitely throws things off a bit. Kinda gives you a cross-cultural feel. Perhaps she’s making a statement. The blending of the races is A-OK, my friend. Don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise, either. Not that you have or will blend. But there is NOTHING wrong with blending Netherland with Ireland. Or anything else for that matter. And the onions symbolize the bitterness around. You know. Bitterness. Sourness. Things that make one cry out with bitterness. And sourness. So much of that going on today because folks won’t just stick to God’s word. Did I get it right? No?

  12. Nancy Baetz

    I guess I am a jumping in a bit late here, but to me the perspective seems way off…..and I guess she should have had a few tears from all those onions! LOL!

  13. M. de Boer

    whats wrong is the tin jug
    if you pour out liquid it will spill over the edge because the pouring entrence is too long.

    some onions don’t make you cry
    and the iron is a chopping knife

    greatings from Holland


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