Woman reading a letter, Gabriel Metsu

Woman reading a letter, Gabriel Metsu
Woman reading a letter, Gabriel Metsu

In the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland, we found the painting that we analyzed in previous entries titled Man reading a letter and the pair of this canvas, Woman reading a letterwithout which, the story that Gabriel Metsu tells us in the piece is incomplete.

Gabriel Metsu (1629 – 1667) was one of the most praised masters of the Baroque era, as we pointed out earlier, the similarities with Vermeer in his genre scenes are undeniable, although it is true that today the teacher of Girl with a Pearl Earring has been much more recognized than Metsu, in his time and while they both lived Metsu was much more important and recognized than Vermeer.

If on the previous road we found a young and we althy merchant passionately writing a love letter, on this occasion the canvas by the Dutch artist tells us about the addressee of said letter; one work that completes the other and thatwithout its partner both lose part of their meaning


NGI 4537

On this occasion we find two women who star in the scene; On the one hand, we see on the left side of the canvas a young woman who is supposed to be the recipient of the letter, she appears with the letter in her hand, tilting it towards the light that penetrates the window to read it better. Next to her, her maid amuses herself by uncovering a curtain that concealed a canvas and thathe holds a letter in his hand -surely the answer- where the painter takes the opportunity to sign the canvas.

The scene seems to take place in the same room in which the young man wrote the letter, but with a more modest setting and even so there are elements that indicate that also belongs to a high social position, for example, the carved chair that is under the canvas or the painting itself with the curtain.

On the canvas some elements tell us about the relationship between the lovers, such as the stormy sea scene that refers us to the passionate love between the lovers and the little dog -a traditional representation of fidelity between lovers- that barks nervously to the canvas as if the young merchant's work at sea endangered the fidelity of the couple.

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