A period copy after the painting by Gerard Ter Borch, datable to 'circa' 1658, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no. 14.40.617).1 There is also a related drawing in the British Museum, London (inv. no. 1846,0509.204), which was probably a study for the original work – there are even smudges of oil paint on the sheet, suggesting it may have been side-by-side the painting during its execution.2
Gerard Ter Borch was a pioneer of the genre scene during the Dutch Golden Age. He is most celebrated for painting interiors with richly-dressed figures often engaged in quotidian activities, which belie hidden symbolism and reflect social behaviour of the time. Ter Borch inspired the greatest proponents of this genre, including Johannes Vermeer, Gabriel Metsu and Gerard Dou.
Music was an integral part of Dutch culture in the 17th century, with intimate musical gatherings facilitating social interaction, particularly between men and women. Music became synonymous with love and harmony, and so became the ideal vehicle for depictions of amorous scenes, such as this.
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