(b. 1617, Zwolle, d. 1681, Deventer)

The Dancing Couple

c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 76 x 68 cm
The National Trust, Polesden Lacey

This is one of an outstanding group of interior scenes with figures painted by ter Borch in Deventer in the years around 1660. He paints young men and women in elegant rooms, talking, dancing, drinking, making music and flirting. In addition to his skill in setting the scene, ter Borch possesses a remarkable technical gift, especially in the description of texture. No Dutch artist rendered satin more effectively than ter Borch nor was able to differentiate better in the medium of oil paint between the textures of a leather jerkin, a gleaming breastplate, a table carpet, a wooden lute and a brass candelabra.

In 1658 ter Borch was in Delft where he witnessed a document with the young Vermeer. This recently discovered evidence of a direct contact between the two artists confirms what has long been suggested: that the simplicity and restraint of ter Borch's style exercised an important influence on the Delft painter.

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