The Visit to the Nursery

Artist: Gabriël Metsu (Dutch, Leiden 1629–1667 Amsterdam)

Date: 1661

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 30 1/2 x 32 in. (77.5 x 81.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.20

Description

In an impressively appointed room, modeled on a large chamber in the new Town Hall of Amsterdam, the parents of a newborn baby receive a fashionable well-wisher. Such a kraambezoek (cradle visit) was a minor ritual of polite society. At least two of the poses recall figures by one of Holland’s closest observers of modern manners, Gerard ter Borch. The painting was celebrated in its own time—for example, in a poem by Jan Vos of 1662—but unfortunately its surface is badly worn from cleanings in the past.

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