BREKELENKAM, Quiringh van
(b. ca. 1622, Zwammerdam, d. ca. 1669, Leiden)
Sentimental Conversationc. 1663
Oil on panel, 41 x 35 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
At the beginning of the 1660s, van Brekelenkam turned to representations of courtship and related themes and consequently introduced a hitherto unseen level of elegance and finesse into his work. The Sentimental Conversation of around 1663 shows elaborate furnishings as is fitting for its subject: polite conversation between a smartly dressed couple. The interactions of the figures in this picture (and related ones by the master) owe much to the art of Terborch, the foremost contemporary Dutch painter of courtship themes. The presence of a musical instrument and wine, time-honored motifs of love, suggest that the young pair converse about amorous matters. And consider as well the presence of a large, rocky landscape on the wall behind them. This landscape, with its traveler ascending a steep and arduous path, possibly comments upon the nature of the couple's relationship and loves travail in general.