A Young Man and Woman making Music

The duet played by the couple may well refer to the harmony of true love. The foot-warmer in the foreground, which appears in many Dutch paintings, has been given different interpretations. It could symbolise, like in contemporary emblem books, an object women might find more valuable than a man; but it has also been suggested that it could represent feminine desire, because it heats not only the feet but everything under the woman’s dress. The pink shimmering on the green dress demonstrates the artist’s skills as a colourist. The man’s face, with his very relaxed expression, recalls figures by Dirck Hals, which would have been known by Molenaer.

The portrait in the right background, painted in the style of Michiel van Miereveld (1567 - 1641), probably represents Prince Frederik Henrik of Orange (1584 - 1647), who became Stadholder of the Dutch Republic in 1625.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1610 - 1668
Full title
A Young Man playing a Theorbo and a Young Woman playing a Cittern
Date made
probably 1630-2
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
68 x 84 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought (Clarke Fund), 1889
Inventory number
Location in Gallery