Gabriël Metsu 1629 – 1667

Metsu, was a Dutch painter of history paintings, still life’s, portraits, and genre works. He was a highly eclectic artist, who did not adhere to a consistent style, technique, or one type of subject for long periods.

According to Arnold Houbraken, Metsu was taught by Gerard Dou, though prior to about 1653 his influence is not apparent. Around 1653-4, Metsu began placing his figures in domestic interiors and specialized in genre scenes on small panels. Old people were among Metsu’s favourite thematic borrowings from Dou during his first years in Amsterdam.

Metsu often painted young (single) women who either feed pets, sold goods at market (fruit, vegetables, fish, poultry, or meat) or were grocery-shopping themselves for these things.

Around the year 1661, Metsu won the patronage of the Amsterdam cloth merchant Jan J. Hinlopen and painted his family more than once in a fashionable surrounding.  Often  referred to as The Family of burgomaster Gillis Valckenier, and Visit to the Nursery. The latter belonged to Jan J. Hinlopen.

In 1662 Jan Vos published a poem about this painting. It might depict the Hinlopen family, but as the sitters have not been identified in this painting it is more a genre work than a portrait. In 1721 Arnold Houbraken recalled the latter painting as the largest and finest work by Metsu he had ever seen. Franits calls it one of his most intriguing images.

Metsu died at the age of 38 and was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk. Three bells were tolled; a habit in use with Dutch Catholics at that time.



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