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Pieter de Hooch, A Musical Party in a Courtyard

Key facts
Full title A Musical Party in a Courtyard
Artist Pieter de Hooch
Artist dates 1629 - after 1684
Date made 1677
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 83.5 × 68.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1916
Inventory number NG3047
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
A Musical Party in a Courtyard
Pieter de Hooch

A small group of people meet to make music and enjoy each other’s company. We look over the back of a chair to see a young woman playing the violin. A second man smiles at the young woman sitting at her ease on the right. Pieter de Hooch has picked out her jewels, but without ostentation: a pearl necklace, long earrings and the ornament in her hair.

De Hooch has given hardly any architectural detail to the courtyard in which they sit. We know by the dress of the occupants and the expensive Turkish carpet on the table that this is a sophisticated establishment, but we have little idea of their surroundings. Instead, he has given prominence to the houses seen across the canal and to the enigmatic figure in the archway who looks over at them.

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