Gabriel Metsu - Dutch School

GABRIEL METSU was born at Leyden in 1630. He was one of the first to register in the newly formed Guild of St. Luke in his native city, being only twenty at the time. Houbraken, the prolific and frequently unreliable chronicler of the Dutch painters, says that Metsu studied with Gerard Dow in his early years. But after moving to Amsterdam in 1650 he came directly under the influence of Rembrandt. He made an awkward attempt to paint religious pictures, but soon realized that sacred subjects were not his forte. And so he turned to the scenes of Dutch life for which he is famous. Metsu, more than any other painter of his times, cut across class lines in his choice of subjects. They range from the most decorous of family group portraits to the Rabelaisian rowdiness of the peasantry. Metsu married in 1659 and became a permanent citizen of Amsterdam. It was there that he died at the early age of thirty-seven.

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