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A young, smiling man bursts through the door of a dimly lit bedroom occupied by three women in this vertical painting. All four people have pale skin. The arched door is to our right and the man faces our left with his arms spread wide. He leans slightly forward as he holds the wide brim of his hat out by his left side, to our right. Shoulder-length chestnut-brown hair frames his face, and he wears a velvety brown jacket trimmed with tan stripes and pompoms down the front and along the sleeve we can see. A broad sash crosses his chest and tassels hang from his wide, white collar. Between us and him, a wooden chair is draped with a crimson-red cloak trimmed with white fur and bands of gold. A pewter pitcher and candlestick rest on the pine floor in front of it, near the lower right corner of the painting. The man is stopped at the door by a woman wearing a sable-brown gown with a tight-fitting bodice and a white cap on the back of her head. Her body faces the man as she leans toward him with her outstretched right hand resting on his shoulder, and she turns her smiling face back over her shoulder. Light from an open window on the left illuminates the woman in the center, who steps down from a bed enclosed by forest-green, velvet curtains trimmed with gold fringe and tassels. The curtains are parted behind her to reveal white pillows. She wears a long, gleaming white satin skirt topped by a tight-fitting coral-red bodice stitched with thin lines of gold. A white neckerchief covers her shoulders and is partially tucked into the bodice. Her head is covered by a white kerchief knotted under her chin. Her body faces us with one foot on a step stool, and the other foot reaches down to a gold and red shoe on the floor. Its mate lies nearby, pointing away from us. Her head is turned to our right to look at the man. She has a thin face with a high forehead, and small mouth is closed or pursed. Closest to us and near the lower left corner of the painting, the third woman sits alongside a small table under the open window. She wears a long, pine-green jacket trimmed with white fur over a brown skirt. Her auburn hair is partially coiled around her head, while some locks fall in bunched curls. She sits facing our right in profile with her back to the window, so her smiling face is mostly in shadow. Her left arm rests on the table, which is draped with a red and copper patterned cloth, and she holds a white comb in that hand. A mirror and round silver box sit on the table next to her. A small brown and white dog stands by her feet, its head tilted up to look at the others. The far wall of the room is covered with a faint pattern of golden brown vines and leaves against a forest-green background. The artist signed the painting on the face of the step leading up to the bed, “G. Metsu.”

Gabriel Metsu, The Intruder, c. 1660, oil on panel, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.57

Glimpses of Life in Seventeenth Century Dutch Art

Daily Tours

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.
  • West Building, Main Floor - Rotunda
  • In-person

With the foundation of the Dutch Republic came an unprecedented flourishing of the arts. Join us to look closely at works of art that offer glimpses of life in this time of social, economic, political, and religious change.

Monday—Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Monday—Sunday at 2:30 p.m.