Three Young Girls is a portrait of sisters who have a story to tell. They stand in a line facing the viewer all wearing the same elaborate gown that is seemingly the same size even for the diminutive littlest girl.

Follower of William Larkin, Three Young Girls, c.1585-1619, Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado. Wiki Commons.

Follower of William Larkin, Three Young Girls, c.1585-1619, Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado. Wiki Commons.

Within their similar hairstyle they each wear a yellow lace hair band, which was only introduced in 1610, so they were at the forefront of fashion as well. Their faces are stylized with rosy cheeks and pale skin, yet individual features, such as their eyes and noses are distinctive.

They are each linked to the other in some way, holding hands or arm in arm, showing their sisterhood. Their fancy jewelry, including coral hunting horn earrings, tells us that they were likely members of a wealthy land-owning family.

Each girl holds in her hand a unique object: a doll, a bunch of grapes and a pair of pears. Ripe fruit generally tends to mean fertility in art symbolism, which might be a wish for these girls to be wives and mothers. The flowers in their hair signify spring, which is another sign of regeneration and fruitfulness.

The doll is interesting though. It is very clearly an adult female and she looks suspiciously like the girls. It could be an effigy for a deceased mother or a reminder of a living one.

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