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in Medieval European Paintings
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A Lady Reading a Letter
c. 1662
Oil on canvas, 45 x 33 cm
Wallace Collection, London

by Gerard Terborch (b.1617 in Zwolle d. 1681 in Deventer), Dutch subject painter, was born in the province of Overijssel, the Netherlands.

In the seventeenth-century Netherlands, middle-class life was a very common subject in the genre paintings of many artists, but Gerard Terborch gave a specific twist to this type of work. His domestic scenes show small groups or single figures at their everyday occupations, companionable or self-absorbed as the case may be.

The depiction of a peaceful moment is complemented by Terborch's mastery of the depiction of materiality. He captures the precious silk of the dress in inimitable fashion, catching the viewer's attention with his modulated highlights.