The woman holds a sheet of music. Her companion is tuning his violin. On the table is a viola da gamba. A carved figure of Atlas is beside the fireplace. Such scenes of men and women making music are often interpreted as metaphors for the harmony of love.

The same models appear in the so-called 'Lovers at Breakfast' (Dresden), painted in 1661, and this picture was probably painted shortly before.

Metsu, a native of Leiden, is said to have been trained by Gerrit Dou.

Key facts

Artist dates
1629 - 1667
Full title
A Woman seated at a Table and a Man tuning a Violin
Date made
about 1658
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
43 x 37.5 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1871
Inventory number
Location in Gallery