Gabriel Metsu Biography
Gabriel Metsu was a Dutch painter, the son of Jacob Metsu, who lived most of his days in Leyden, where he was three times married. The last of these marriages was celebrated in 1625, and Jacomma Garnijers, herself the widow of a painter, gave birth to Gabriel in 1629.
Metsu is believed to have been a pupil of the Dutch painter Gerrit Dou (Gerard Dow), and he helped found the guild of painters in Leyden in 1648. As such Metsu was registered among the first members of the guild, and the registry of the guild confirm that Metsu was still a member in 1649. By 1650 Metsu ceased to subscribe, and paintings bearing his name after c.1653 suggest that he had then settled in Amsterdam, where he probably continued his studies under Rembrandt. Metsu became a citizen of Amsterdam in 1659, but died already in 1667, only 38 years old. During his relatively short life and professional career Metsu was inspired by such great artists as Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Frans Hals and Jan Vermeer, who all left a lasting impact on his painting.
Metsu painted the charming aspects of middle-class Dutch life with consummate taste in colour and tone. Metsu paintings include "Mother nursing her Sick Child” (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), "Working Woman" (The Hermitage, St Petersburg); "Man Writing a letter", and "Woman reading a letter", (the latter two both in the National Gallery of Ireland)
The National Gallery of Ireland houses both the national collection of Irish art and the collection of European master paintings. The painting collection spans the period from the 14th to the 20th centuries and includes all the major Continental schools. Irish painting is charted from its re-emergence in the 17th century through to the paintings of Jack B. Yeats, Ireland’s most important 20th century artist.
The Italian School is the second most numerous in the Gallery’s painting collection and contains one of the most distinguished collections of 17th century paintings outside Italy as well as early gilded altarpieces and Renaissance treasures by Fra Angelico, Mantegna and Titian. The French school contains 17th century, rococo, neoclassical, academic, Orientalist, plein-air, Impressionist and early 20th century paintings. The Spanish collection is predominately religious and includes painting by El Greco. The British collection is strongly based on portraiture and includes many Irish sitters or connections.
The collection of Dutch 17th century paintings includes paintings by Vermeer, Metsu, Hobbema and Ruisdael, all artists from the Baroque Era.