This painting includes portraits of so many men. They each paid the sum of 100 guilders or more to be included in the painting. But, curiously, there is a little girl prominently featured on the left in a gold dress. I wondered about her when I looked at the painting. When the museum closed and we went to look around in the Museum Store, I saw a Picture Book that was about The Girl in the Gold Dress. I could figure out a little bit about the story line from the pictures, but the words were in Dutch. I don't read Dutch.
I came home more curious than ever about the Girl in the Gold Dress. Who was she? Why was she included in the group portrait of the Amsterdam Militia of 1642? I decided to do a little research. The source said that the little girl was fictional and was just added to the painting to fill the role of mascot to the militia. Her outfit and items she is carrying hold some significance. She wears emblems that identify the particular Militia group and make a play on the names (in Dutch).
"Girl in yellow dress with chicken - Rembrant’s wife, Saskia died in 1642 and her features are painted on this girl's face. She is carrying the main symbols of the Militia and is a mascot herself: the claws of a dead chicken on her belt represent the clauweniers (arquebusiers); the dead chicken is also meant to represent a defeated adversary. the pistol behind the chicken stands for 'clover'; she is holding the militia's goblet. The color yellow is associated with victory. (Holand’s Victory over the Spanish)"
This quote does explain a few things. It is interesting that Rembrandt found a way to memorialize his wife. That is sweet. Still searching for that Picture Book. Maybe somewhere there is an English translation.