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A Woman standing at a Harpsichord, a Man seated by her
Jacob Ochtervelt

In an elegant interior adorned with a landscape painting on the wall and a classical bust above the door, a man and a woman are making music together. The lady, clad in a luxurious red satin dress with gold embroidery, is standing with her back to us in front of a harpsichord. She looks down at the keyboard, while the singing man sitting opposite gazes adoringly at his love interest. A servant bringing wine appears in the doorway, but only the dog turning its head has noticed the intruder.

Variants of the figure of the standing woman appear in several other works by Ochtervelt and the dress is identical with that in Two Women and a Man making Music, also in the National Gallery’s collection.

The son of a bridge keeper, Ochtervelt grew up in humble circumstances. He specialised in depicting elegant companies in lavish interiors, with which he enjoyed great success.

Key facts
Artist Jacob Ochtervelt
Artist dates 1634 - 1682
Full title A Woman standing at a Harpsichord, a Man seated by her
Date made probably 1675-80
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 79.7 x 65.4 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Henry J. Pfungst, 1907
Inventory number NG2143
Location in Gallery Not on display
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