Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, 1629–1684)
Oil on wood
26 3/4 x 23 in. (67.9 x 58.4 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.7)
This panel was painted in Delft about 1657 and is one of the first works by De Hooch to employ linear perspective effectively. The artist's earlier dependence upon figure groups, furniture, and contrasts of light and shadow to suggest three-dimensional space is still evident here, incongruously in the case of the underscaled bed. Hints of De Hooch's association with Vermeer are found in the study of light on the woman to the left and in her reflection in the window.
Vermeer made similar but bolder progress in constructing interior space at about the same time, in pictures such as The Letter Reader (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden) and The Milkmaid. But distinctive of De Hooch himself, and interesting for Vermeer, is the use of daylight and transparent shadows for the sense of space and suggestion of mood (compare Vermeer's Woman with a Lute, 25.110.24). De Hooch would soon depict more luxurious rooms and superficially more polite behavior than appear in paintings like this important transitional work.