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The School of Delft

(part three)

Man and Woman Sitting at the Virginals, Johannes Vermeer

Man and Woman Sitting
at the Virginal

Gabriel Metsu
c. 1658–1660

The Music lesson, Johannes Vermeer

The Music Lesson
Johannes Vermeer

The amorous relationship in a contemporary setting was among the most interesting themes developed by the school of Delft. Until then, love between man and woman was conveyed only through the representation of biblical or historical stories which inevitably had a strong moral, ethical or religious overtone. Delft painters instead, addressed the problem of particular living individuals in love. We find young couples who belong to a refined upper middle class represented engaged discretely in music making which itself was associated with love and passion. The spinet, oriental carpet, black and white floor tiles and the ebony frames are to be found in many paintings of this period.

Paternal Admonition, Gerrit Terborch

Paternal Admonition
c. 1664–1665
Gerrit ter Borch

The Glass of Wine, Johannes Vermeer
The Glass of Wine
Johannes Vermeer

The description of the painting fits both A Lady Seated at a Virginal and A Lady Standing at a Virginal , both in the National Gallery of London. Which ever one the painting was, the other was in the collection of the immensely rich Antwerp banker Diego Duarte.