Gabriël Metsu Netherlands
1-1629 Leiden, NED –10-24-1667 Amsterdam, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Vermeer and Gabriël Metsu were contemporaries, but Metsu was the star in the Golden Age of Dutch painting during the 17th century and long afterward but when it comes to Dutch painters, Rembrandt and Vermeer are the best known. In his day, Metsu was well-loved in Europe but it has taken 400 years for his paintings to get much attention in this country.
In 1648 Gabriël Metsu was registered among the first members of the painters' guild at Leiden. In 1650 he ceased to subscribe. Metsu was possibly trained in Utrecht by the catholic painters Nicolaus Knüpfer and Jan Weenix.
In his early works, Gabriël Metsu created rustic or Biblical scenes in his small hometown of Leiden. Once he moved to Amsterdam in the 1650s, he depicted bustling market scenes, fancier folks and fripperies, in a successful attempt to meet the tastes of the city's booming, sophisticated art market. Around 1655 Metsu moved to Amsterdam to a house on the canal side, where a daily vegetable market was held.
At the onset of the 1660s Gabriël Metsu turned for inspiration to the art of the "fijnschilders" from his native Leiden. Metsu was responding to the market of Dou's paintings, who sold his paintings all over for exorbitant prices. Metsu may have also influenced Pieter de Hooch.
Gabriël Metsu was taught by Gerard Dou, though prior to about 1653 his influence is not apparent. Around 1653-4, Metsu began placing his figures in domestic interiors and specialized in genre scenes on small panels. Old people were among Metsu's favorite thematic borrowings from Dou during his first years in Amsterdam. In 1664, Gabriël Metsu painted one of his most important crowd pleasers, A Man Writing a Letter.
In Vermeer, their lives are on pause. Gabriël Metsu's people are coming from somewhere and going to somewhere — you just can't tell how it will turn out.
Art Movement: Baroque
Influences: Gerard Dou, Nicolaus Knüpfer, Jan Weenix
Influenced: Michiel van Musscher, Joost van Geel, Pieter de Hooch