Sign up
Gabrielle Metsu
Netherlands 1629−1667
Все выставки художника
Biography and information
Gabriel Metso (Gabriel Metsu, 1629, Leiden — October 24, 1667, Amsterdam): genre and religious painter of the Dutch Golden age, one of the co-founders of the Guild of Saint Luke in Leiden.

The characteristics of creativity Gabriel Metso. "Why buy a Vermeer if there is Metso?" — these words of the Paris art dealer the eighteenth century is very vividly describe its popularity Leiden painter. During his lifetime and up until the nineteenth century it was valued far above the "Sphinx of Delft". In the XVII century Leiden was famous for its fijnschilders, or "fine artists." However, their scrupulous glossy style began to gain popularity only to the time of the move Gabriel Metso in Amsterdam.

He specialized in genre scenes, masterfully conveyed the play of light and shadow, and different surface — satin, linen, fur, ceramics, glass, skin tones. Master combined the formal language of his illustrious countryman Gerrit Douwith plots borrowed from Of Gerard Ter Borch. Metso Gabriel managed to combine in his work the best of what is offered to his contemporaries.

Famous paintings Gabriel Metso: "Hunter, dressed after bathing", "The sick child", "Vegetable market in Amsterdam".

Father-artist and father-skipper

Gabriel Metso was born somewhere at the end of 1629. The exact date is unknown, but historian Adrian Waiboer believes that the future artist was born between 27 November and mid-December. His parents were the artist Jacques Metso (CA. 1588 — 1629) and the midwife Jasmin, Garniers (1589 / 93 — 1651). Before settling in Leiden about 1615, father Gabriel spent some time in Gouda, earning a living creating patterns for tapestry manufactories. No work Metso, Sr. was not preserved, and in Leiden was not found inventory of paintings assigned to him. However, in the property records for the citizens attributed the panel began regularly to appear only in 1640-ies, and Jacques Metso died in 1629-M.

Both parents Gabriel came from South-West Flanders, but moved with his family in the Dutch Republic even more children. At the wedding in Leiden in 1625 they were both middle-aged and previously consisted of marriages. Gabriel, most likely, was their only child, but Jacques Metso has never seen his son because he died eight months before his birth. How many half-brothers and sisters from Metso Jr. was from the other unions of his parents, is difficult to understand. When in 1631 Jasmin, Garnier appealed to the city Council with a petition for issuing a license of a midwife, said that raising nine children. Although Adrian Waiboer believes that she could exaggerate to get sympathy.

In 1636 the widow was married for the fourth time — for the skipper Cornelis Bonterra. He had enough money to provide both Gabriel and other children Jakmin.

The pupil-master and the Guild

It is difficult to determine who taught Gabriel Metso. Painter and writer Arnold Houbraken (1660 — 1719), the author of historiography of the "Great theatre of Dutch painters", this is not mentioned. Various researchers point to Gerrit Dou, but no proof of this. Moreover, the influence of the founder of the school of "fine artists" creativity Metso began to emerge only in the mid-1650's, when he was already working independently. The first effect can be called a panel "Notary public"Dating from about the year 1653 (compare: 1and 2). It should be noted that smears from Metso is much freer than that of his illustrious countryman, and spots of colour almost abstract.

Adrian Waiboer assumes that the first drawing lessons received from Metso silversmiths Klaus Peters de Grebber from Harlem who settled in Leiden in about 1640. It is known that 13-year-old Gabriel was in his service. One of the brothers Claus was a famous painter Frans pietersz de Grebber, the father of the painters Peter Franceand Maria de Grebenov. The latter was the mother of the future wife of our hero.

Judging by the earliest known works Metso, his next mentor was the master of historical painting. However, in Leiden there were few specialists in this genre. One of them was Anthony Clauson de Grebber, the son of the jeweler. Some works Metso is so close to his paintings that teachers should at least take into consideration. But if it were, then not for long. Already in 1644 the entry "Gabriel Metsu, schilder" ("Gabriel Metso, the artist") has appeared among the thirty one name under the petition for the establishment of the Guild of St. Luke.

Of course, Gabriel, who at the time was barely 15 years old, is unlikely to have been an independent practicing artist. This line may indicate that colleagues recognized the young talent and the young man received the privileges of a master part in master and the right to sign their own work. When in 1648 the Leiden painters has teamed up with painters and have finally convinced the city Council to consent to the establishment of the Guild of Saint Luke, Metso became its full member and pay dues.

"Utrecht Intermezzo" and Amsterdam

In 1650 in the ledgers of the Guild next to the name Metso Gabriel appeared "vertrokken" ("retired"). For a long time historians believed that the artist moved from Leiden to Amsterdam. Later it turned out that mark added only in 1658, and before the management of the Guild was carried out badly, payments have been intermittent — if received at all.

However, shortly after 1650 21-year-old Gabriel really left Leiden. He went to Utrecht, where for some time he worked under the Nicolaus Knupfer. Patronage the young man could be his brother Jan Steenwho was a disciple of Knupfer. After a short "Intermezzo Utrecht" Metso has returned to his hometown — but not for long. In the middle of 1654 he moved to Amsterdam, where he remained to the end of his life.

What caused the move, it is not clear. May be, cosmopolitan Amsterdam is attracted to this ambitious artist, like Metso. But, he played the role of economic circumstances: after 1652 market in Leiden declined. And, as pointed out by art historian Piet Bakker, a young Gabriel was not the only one who left the city though and became one of the first.

Anticipation Watteau

In Amsterdam Metso settled on the Prinsengracht canal, in a small house owned by a distant relative. From that moment began a major change in the artist’s work. If in Leiden he specialized in religious scenes like "The Expulsion Of Hagar"then in a new place in a short time became a genre painter.

It seems that in the bustling and noisy Amsterdam Gabriel Metso realized and accepted their Leiden origin — for the first time in his paintings you can see the influence of Gerrit Dou. However, it is not adopted before the end of elegant and time-consuming style of its popular counterparts. Bright colored accents, quickening Metso monochrome paintings look more like Nicolas Masand fluid texture reflects the impact of Jan Baptist Feniksawith whose works he became acquainted in Utrecht.

Most likely, the "reclassification" was the result of accurate calculation. Replaced the pious poor like "Old lady food"(wine and bread alluding to the sacrament of the Eucharist) came a young well-dressed men and women who play music, exchange of letters and a gentleman flirting with each other (1,2,3). Street and market scenes are full of allusions and ciphers. For example, plucked chickens, and other game carry sexual connotations (1,2,3).

Such paintings were much more popular among the wealthy public. Metso and hurried to share a profitable niche with a Gerard Ter Borch, Franz van Mierisand Jan Vermeer. It is clear why the French of the eighteenth century loved his paintings: images of fine living and sophisticated courtship anticipated the work Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Antoine Watteauand Francois Boucher.

Isabella and death

19 may 1658 Metso married Isabella de Wolff from Enkhuizen. Her parents were Wouter Conrac de wolf and artist Maria de Grebber. With them Metso obviously met through an alleged former teacher Anthony of Clausena de Grebber. The two years before I went to Amsterdam from Leiden and witnessed the marriage contract at the wedding of ex-apprentices.

Isabellaoften served as a model for her husband and, without any doubt, is depicted in many of his paintings. However, it is unlikely that she was an artist, like her mother.

Metso Gabriel died in the autumn of 1667 at the age of 38 and was buried in the reformed Church Nieuwe Kerk on 24 October. With his death, genre painting has lost one of the brightest representatives, whose work has inspired many artists, including Jan Steen, Jan Vermeer, Franz van Mieris and Pieter de Hooch.

The Shadow Of Vermeer

During his life Gabriel Metso has been a trendsetter, and after the death of its star shone even brighter. Now it’s hard to believe, but in the eighteenth century it was much more popular (and his paintings more expensive as a result) of his compatriot Jan Vermeer. The latter was even called "artist in the style of Metso".

Most likely, the artists were personally familiar. Because their work is often not dated, it is difficult to determine who influences whom. There is no doubt that both were inspired by each other’s work. Between Metso and works of Vermeer, there is a huge similarity of both thematic and technical, it becomes clear to anyone who sees next to their picture (Metso — 1, 2; Vermeer 1, 2). "Forger of the century" Han van Meegeren successfully introduced art historians astray in 1930 — 1940-ies using panel Leganza as a starting point for their fakes "a Vermeer".

But by the beginning of the last century, collectors began to appreciate Vermeer above and the advantages of Metso faded. It may have played a role protomodernist mood of alienation in the paintings of the "Sphinx of Delft" or the evolution of the design to clear lines and light interiors. Metso has almost disappeared in the shadow of his colleagues. In the XX century, his most recent retrospective was held in Leiden in 1966, and the last monograph on him was published in 1974. However, in 2011, thanks to the efforts of doctor of philosophy Adrian Waiboer, Metso 40 paintings were exhibited in Dublin, Amsterdam and Washington. The fame of the painter began to revive.

Author: Vlad Maslov
Read more
Artworks liked by
Faina Alexander

To post comments log in or sign up.
Comment on and discuss user publications and actions. Add the required photos, videos or sound files to comments.
Whole feed
Artworks by the artist
total 135 artworks
Gabrielle Metsu. Woman reading a letter
Woman reading a letter
1667, 52.5×40.2 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. Vegetable market in Amsterdam
Vegetable market in Amsterdam
1661, 97×84.5 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. The young man writing a letter
The young man writing a letter
1667, 52.5×40.2 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. A sick child
A sick child
1665, 33.2×27.2 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. The hunter, dressed after bathing
The hunter, dressed after bathing
1656, 51.7×63.8 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. Duo
1655, 32×29 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. The cook at work
The cook at work
1657, 28×26 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. Boozer
1657, 28×27 cm
Gabrielle Metsu. Breakfast
1662, 55.5×42 cm
View 135 artworks by the artist