A Musical Conversation, Pieter de Hooch

Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, 1629–1684) 

A Musical Conversation, 1674 

Oil on canvas 

Purchase, 1971 (3798.1) 

Genre scenes featuring happy couples in ordered domestic interiors typify the work of Pieter de Hooch, a Dutch painter working in the tradition of the Leiden fijnshilders. This group of artists, which included Gerrit Dou and Frans van Mieris, created paintings that scrupulously replicated the natural world. In this painting, two couples prepare to perform under the gaze of a personification of Venus, the goddess of love, whose presence at the right of the composition hints at the romantic relationship between the men and women. and the play of light upon them.True to the style of the fijnschilders, the artist has paid great attention to the figures’ costumes, the surface of the instruments, and the play of light upon them.