A Woman Seated at a Window

Artist: Gabriël Metsu (Dutch, Leiden 1629–1667 Amsterdam)

Date: early 1660s

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 10 7/8 x 8 7/8 in. (27.6 x 22.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.60.32


A housewife holds an apple, which in this context more likely refers to the New Eve (the Virgin Mary) than the old one. The birdcage and hearth imply happy domesticity, while the grapevine alludes to the woman as "a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house" (Psalm 128). The original buyer of such a painting, if he had opinions about art as well as women, would probably have described it as a nisstuck, meaning "niche-piece" or "window-niche," an illusionistic format popularized by Gerrit Dou.