Gabriël Metsu (1629-1667, Flemish)

Gabriël Metsu (1629-1667, Flemish) was a Dutch genre painter born in Leiden. His still lifes and portraits represent the 17th century’s Dutch Golden Age. Primarily guided by his teacher, Gerard Dou, he was also influenced by Rembrandt and Jan Steen. After moving to Amsterdam in 1657, he began to produce some of his greatest works.  Focused on middle class daily life, Metsu’s works were often of vegetable and fish markets as well as family portraits.  Some of his favorite subjects were women selling goods in markets.  Often accompanied by a cat, which signifies domesticity and sexuality, they represent everyday life during the period.  Cats in other paintings are seen eating or being fed. In Woman Feeding a Cat the cat is being fed a morsel from a kind woman, but there are also the ominous symbols of death nearby: the chicken and the fallen flower blossom.