Gabriel Metsu - The Sick Child [c.1660-65]

Dutch Golden Age painters are renowned for their scenes of every-day life, but this one by Gabriel Metsu is highly unusual. The theme of a woman taking care of a child was common, but what is rare about this canvas, however, is the depiction of the pale and sick looking child, hanging almost lifeless on the woman’s lap. The image is so convincing because Metsu portrayed the child so skillfully. He painted the unhealthy hue of its skin perfectly, which is emphasised by the strong colours in the rest of the painting. The composition and the woman’s obvious dedication draw all our attention to the child.