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'The Cottar's Saturday Night', by Sir David Wilkie
In this cottage interior a family are grouped round a table listening to the head of the household reading from the Bible. A mood of quiet reverence and intimacy is created by the artist's skillful use of light and shade, probably inspired by Rembrandt.
Most of the room is in darkness apart from the light falling on the Bible and the mother and child sitting on the opposite side of the table. In the shadows a boy plays with a cat and another man gazes at one of the daughters. Everyday objects abound.
Wilkie was the most celebrated Scottish genre painter at the beginning of the 19th century. This picture is an illustration of Robert Burns' poem, The Cottar's Saturday Night and reflects the poem's theme of simple, domestic piety.
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