In a barn, a young maid squats while milking a brown and white spotted cow. Standing nearby, another cow seems to be waiting its turn. Gerard ter Borch treated the routine chore of milking in a straightforward manner, rejecting the humorous themes often favored by seventeenth-century Dutch genre painters. He was especially skilled at rendering the textures and surfaces of objects like those found in the foreground: the roughly hewn stool, the wooden basin filled with water, the chipped ceramic crock, and the shiny metal hinges of the buckets. The painting's muted colors and subtle play of light are characteristic of Ter Borch's work.