Gabriel Metsu Biography | Oil Paintings

1-1629 Leiden, NED –10-24-1667 Amsterdam, NED

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Metsu, Gabriel

In 1648 Gabriel Metsu was registered among the first members of the painters' guild at Leiden. In 1650 he ceased to subscribe. Metsu was trained in Utrecht by the 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 portrayed clamoring market scenes, fancier people, and fineries, in a successful attempt to meet the tastes of the city's booming, sophisticated art market. Gabriel Metsu was taught by Gerrit Dou, however, before around 1653 his impact is not evident. Around 1654, Metsu began placing his figures in domestic interiors and specialized in genre scenes on small panels. Around 1655 Metsu moved to Amsterdam to a house on the canal side, where a daily vegetable market was held, depicted in one of his paintings, Vegetable Market in Amsterdam. Old people were among Metsu's favorite themes borrowed from Dou during his first years in Amsterdam.

At the beginning 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.

In 1664, Gabriël Metsu painted one of his most important crowd pleasers, A Man Writing a Letter. In Vermeer oil paintings, their lives are on pause, but in Gabriel Metsu's paintings, people are coming from somewhere and going to somewhere, you just can't tell how it will turn out.

Vermeer and Gabriel Metsu were contemporaries, but Metsu was the star in the Golden Age of Dutch painting during the seventeenth century and long afterward but when it comes to Dutch painters, Rembrandt and Vermeer are the best known. In his day, Gabriël Metsu was well-loved in Europe but it has taken 400 years for his paintings to get much attention in this country.

Art Movement: Dutch Golden Age.
Artists Influencing Gabriël Metsu: Gerard Dou, Nicolaus Knüpfer, Jan Weenix.
Painters Gabriel Metsu Influenced: Michiel van Musscher, Joost van Geel, Pieter de Hooch.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.

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