Dou, Dow, or Douw, Gerard or Gerrit(all: gā`rärt, gĕr`ĭt dou), 1613–1675, Dutch genre and portrait painter of Leiden. The son of a glass painter, he was apprenticed to an engraver and worked from 1628 to 1631 in the studio of the young Rembrandt. Although he occasionally borrowed Rembrandt's themes, he was more detailed and meticulous in his execution. His scenes of domestic, middle-class life were tremendously popular and often imitated. Among his most famous works are Evening Light (Rijksmus.), Young Man (The Hague), The Cook (Louvre), and a self-portrait (Metropolitan Mus.).
Born Apr. 7, 1613, in Leiden; buried there Feb. 9, 1675. Dutch painter.
An ardent follower of Rembrandt in his earlier years (The Astronomer, c. 1628, the Hermitage, Leningrad), Dou studied under him from 1628 to 1631 in Leiden. He is known for his small genre paintings depicting cooks, market-women, doctors, and musicians. Two of these small paintings, The Violinist and The Dentist, hang today in the Picture Gallery in Dresden. Dou’s work exhibits a miniature style, a painstaking and pedantic reproduction of nature, and a fineness of brush stroke; at the same time it is characterized by a superficial prettiness, entertaining characters as models, and standard techniques such as placing the subject in a niche, near a window opening, or under artificial light (such as candlelight). It was these features that brought Dou success with the bourgeoisie. His long but undeserving fame as a major Dutch genre painter lasted into the 19th century.