Leisure Time in an Elegant Setting
Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, Rotterdam 1629–1684 Amsterdam)
Oil on canvas
Extended canvas 22 15/16 x 27 5/16 in. (58.3 x 69.4 cm); original visible painted surface 21 5/8 x 26 in. (55 x 66 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Like his contemporary Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch played a pioneering role in the advancement of genre painting in seventeenth century Holland. He was especially gifted as a painter of interiors--complex spatial arrangements stunningly beautiful in the manipulation of light. The Lehman picture is richly decorated with a marble floor and gilt-leather wall coverings, articulated by diffuse light from the window at left. The merry dialogue in the near ground is foiled by the mysterious encounter of a young man and elderly bearded figure in the antechamber and vestibule. De Hooch achieves extraordinary clarity and geometry in this grandly furnished chamber, qualities evocative of paintings he made in Amsterdam in the 1660s.