A Young Woman Composing a Piece of Music

Gabriël Metsuc. 1664


Den Haag, Netherlands

This painting is a highlight in the oeuvre of Metsu, who was a master in depicting fabrics and materials. We see a young woman composing a song, while a man looks over her shoulder and another woman plays on her lute. This instrument may refer to the harmony of a happy marriage. To counterbalance it, there is a painting of a ship in stormy seas hanging over the mantelpiece – an allusion to the fickleness of love?


  • Title: A Young Woman Composing a Piece of Music
  • Creator: Metsu, Gabriel
  • Date Created: c. 1664
  • Physical Dimensions: h57.8 cm x w43.3 cm
  • Provenance: Govert van Slingelandt, The Hague, after 1752-1767; his widow, Agatha Huydecoper, The Hague, 1767-1768; Van Slingelandt sale, The Hague, 18 May 1768 (Lugt 1683), no. 18; the entire collection sold to Prince William V; Prince William V, The Hague, 1768-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum central des arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis in 1822
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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