A Musical Party

Gabriël Metsu Dutch

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 614

Musical performance was a common pastime among the well-to-do and had strong associations with courtship in the Dutch Republic. Here, a richly dressed woman passes a songbook to the dandy behind her while maintaining a nonchalant grasp on the neck of her lute. Another beribboned gentleman tunes a viol, his sword cast off to the side, and a maid pauses in the doorway at the back with a tray of refreshments. For seventeenth-century viewers, symbolic elements such as the foot warmer would have indicated an atmosphere of indulgence and temptation.

A Musical Party, Gabriël Metsu (Dutch, Leiden 1629–1667 Amsterdam), Oil on canvas

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