Le Premier Né (The First Born)
The Flemish painter J L Dyckmans, born in 1811, spent most of his professional life as professor of the Antwerp Academy. The family in the painting is depicted with all the loving sentiment that is associated with nineteenth century genre painting, the newborn radiating the light of the picture.
The highly detailed style that Dyckmans adopted is best appreciated up close and the artist was concerned that when it was exhibited in London in 1881 that it was not hung too high on the gallery wall. ‘I have spoken to Dyckmans,’ wrote a correspondent to the paintings first owner, ‘who consents with pleasure to the painting being exhibited under the condition that you be assured that it will be put where it is able to be seen that is today, not too high up.’