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The Cover
April 7, 2004

The Little Nurse

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(13):1539. doi:10.1001/jama.291.13.1539

It should not be surprising that in a universe as vast as that of 17th-century Dutch painting, many of its artists are becoming known to us only today. Such is the case of one Jacobus Vrel (active 1654-1662) who, until recently, has been lost in the penumbra of Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer. Neither the date of his birth nor the date of his death is known; a single dated painting suggests that his active years occurred somewhere around mid-century. Where he was born, where he died, and even where he worked also remain unknown. Amsterdam, Haarlem, Delft, Friesland, and the lower Rhineland have all been mentioned. Some question whether he was even Dutch: perhaps he was Flemish, from Antwerp. His name is of limited help, being given as Vrel or sometimes Frel. What we do know, however, is that the elusive Jacobus Vrel was a very fine painter. Even a cursory glance at The Little Nurse (cover ) will confirm this reputation (and help to explain the confusion with de Hooch and Vermeer as well).

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