Doomer trained with Rembrandt, who had painted his parents’ portrait, and is currently best known for his topographical drawings, which he made during his extensive travels through France and Germany. Thanks to the income of the factory of one of his brothers Doomer was living comfortably and did not need to paint.
As a result, his output of paintings is small; 24 have been recorded so far. The present hitherto unknown work is therefore a major discovery and one of Doomer’s very few extant portraits. The artist’s personal approach to the genre is striking. The highly unusual composition Doomer invented, stands midway between portrait and genre and constitutes an interesting experiment that is exceptional in Dutch portraiture. It gives rise to the idea that Doomer received the commission to depict these two sisters from patrons – likely the girls’ parents - from his personal circle.
One is teaching a dog to stand on its hind legs; an emblem of disciplina – the core concept of a child’s upbringing in the seventeenth century. The other holds a female doll on her lap. On the table are pieces of sugar and miniature kitchen utensils, such as a copper cooking pot, a silver mustard pot and a copper pothook. Apparently they have actually used miniature tools to cook because on the edge of the table are two small waffles. The bunches of ribbon loops on each side above the girls’ ears were at the height of fashion around 1682.