This canvas celebrates the arrival of a newborn baby and was painted in 1675, the year in which the artist himself married and became a father for the first time. However, the picture also relates to the social ritual known as kraambezoek, or "lying in visit," a traditional and popular subject in art and literature of that period.
Placed in the foreground, flooded with light, the esteemed "Floral and Cloudband" carpet is given particular attention and enhances this important ritual of patrician society. Its warm coloring contrasts with the blue and green tones of the rest of the composition and directs the viewer's attention in a diagonal line via other red details to the back of the scene, where the new father, smoking a pipe, is toasted with a glass of red wine in celebration. A large stormy seascape decorates the room and is reminder of the uncertainty and ephemerality of life. Thus the carpet, along with its connotations of prosperity, also evokes the uselessness and the vanity of worldly things.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): M: Naiveú F. / 1675
[Léon Gauchez, Paris]; William T. Blodgett, Paris (from 1870; sold half share to Johnston); William T. Blodgett, Paris, and John Taylor Johnston, New York (1870–71; sold to MMA)
Nashville. Fisk University. "[title not known]," April 20–August 15, 1951, no catalogue.
Atlanta University. "[title not known]," September 1, 1951–January 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New Orleans. Dillard University. "[title not known]," February 1–April 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "Little Masters in 17th Century Holland and Flanders (circulating exhibition)," 1954–57, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Carpets of the East in Paintings from the West," March 11–June 29, 2014, no catalogue.
Toronto. Aga Khan Museum. "A Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West," June 6–October 18, 2015, no catalogue.
Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 188.
Eric J. Sluijter et al., ed. Leidse Fijnschilders: Van Gerrit Dou tot Frans van Mieris de Jonge, 1630–1760. Exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1988, p. 190, fig. 64.
Ivan Gaskell. Vermeer's Wager: Speculations on Art History, Theory and Art Museums. London, 2000, p. 242 n. 51.
Katharine Baetjer. "Buying Pictures for New York: The Founding Purchase of 1871." Metropolitan Museum Journal 39 (2004), pp. 197, 208, 245, appendix 1A no. 102, ill. p. 208 and fig. 34 (installation photograph).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 463–65, 502–4, no. 128, colorpl. 128.
The Museum also owns a painting of this subject by Gabriël Metsu (17.190.20).