(b. 1629, Leiden, d. 1667, Amsterdam)
A Young Woman Composing Music1662-63
Oil on panel, 58 x 44 cm
Mauritshuis, The Hague
The emphasis on gentility and opulence intensified in Metsu's works during the final years of his career as did his painstaking technique which became harder and drier. Such works as the Young Woman Composing Music present a rarefied view of the leisure life of moneyed urbanites. In this panel, a woman gazes serenely as if lost in thought as she composes music, poised to record the notes played by her lute-strumming confidant behind the table. A man, perhaps an admirer, peers over her shoulder as she works. The room is extravagantly decorated from its wooden table bedecked with an expensive Turkish carpet to the eye-catching mantelpiece that mimics a real one in the Amsterdam Town Hall. The painting above the mantelpiece is a seascape with a storm-stossed boat.