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Dutch Painting

The Sick Child

Gabriel Metsu
Late 1650s
38.4 x 32.2 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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Gabriel Metsu, the Sick Child

Gabriel METSU
Leiden 1629–Amsterdam 1667

Born at Leiden, in January 1629. He was the son of the painter Jacques Metsu, under whom he probably first studied. He also studied with Dou. In 1648 he was a founder member of the guild in Leiden; he left c. 1650 for a time, but was resident again in 1652 and 1654. He may have visited Utrecht as he seems also to have been influenced by Utrecht artists, particularly Nicolaus Knüpfer and J.B. Weenix. By 1657 he had settled in Amsterdam where he lived on the Prinsengracht and where he was buried on 24 October, 1667. In Leiden he had painted some history subjects, but he came to specialize in genre scenes reflecting the influences of Maes and ter Borch and latterly of the Delft School. His technique evolved from the quite broadly painted Leiden works to the meticulous fijnschilder manner of his later Amsterdam years. He occasionally painted portraits and still lifes. One of his best-known works, The Sick Child (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), is often compared with Vermeer. His work is rarely dated, so his development and relationships with other artists are difficult to trace.

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