The Visit to the Nursery, 1661
Gabriël Metsu (Dutch, 1629–1667)
Oil on canvas; 30 1/2 x 32 in. (77.5 x 81.3 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.20)
In an elegantly furnished bedroom the parents of a newborn baby receive a congratulatory visit from a lady. The painting of a storm at sea above the mantlepiece probably refers to the perils of life awaiting the child. The picture is among Metsu's most ambitious and harmonious works. In the seventeenth century it was the subject of a poem by Jan Vos, and in 1721 it was highly praised by Houbraken for the treatment of textures and the lifelike expressions of the figures. The graceful gestures may reflect the influence of Gerard ter Borch.