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METSU Gabriel/ ARTISTS BEFORE 1650/ ART MAIN original lfff site
(b. 1629, Leiden, d. 1667, Amsterdam) film and food
Dutch painter, active in his native Leiden, then in Amsterdam, where he had moved by 1657. Houbraken says he trained with Dou, but Metsu's early works are very different from his - typically historical and mythological scenes, broadly rather than minutely painted. Metsu also painted portraits and still-lifes, but his most characteristic works are genre scenes, some of which rank among the finest of their period. He concentrated on scenes of genteel middle-class life, fairly close to de Hooch and Terborch in style, but with a personal stamp. One of his best-known works, The Sick Child (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), is often compared with Vermeer. His work is rarely dated, so his development and relationships with other artists are difficult to trace.

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Gabriel Metsu (uk) (usa)(de)  (fr)
Breakfast
1660
Oil on wood, 55,5 x 42
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

(Detail)
The painting is also known by the title "Oyster Eaters". It is a painting from the best period of the artist.  
   
Vegetable Market in Amsterdam
1661-62

Oil on canvas, 97 x 81,3 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Horticulture was as potent a source of pride and livelihood in the Dutch Republic as livestock. The vegetable market painted by Gabriel Metsu displays an impressive variety of cabbages and root vegetables against a backdrop of the Prinsengracht, one of Amsterdam's finest canals. Metsu gave pride of place to the Horn carrot (the orange root in the cane basket) and the cauliflower, both of them expensive vegetables that Dutch growers had recently developed; they are contrasted with turnips and other staples of Dutch cooking. The canal calls attention to an enabling factor of Amsterdam's economy: its ready access to Holland's network of waterways.

In setting and motifs, the painting is about Amsterdam's flourishing vegetal and economic cultures, both the subject of numerous laudatory descriptions. While such specific market pictures had some general precedents, their combination of actual sites with the best of locally grown produce constitutes their novelty, and even their seventeenth-century Dutchness.

   
Poultry Seller
1662

Oak, 61,5 x 45,5 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden