Caspar Netscher

Click/Tap the image to see the enlargement


The dreamy gaze of the courtly player combined with the realistic and accurate depiction of the instrument and her mode of playing it, combine to create a feeling of intensity and stillness.
The viola da gamba, or bass viol, is frequently featured in Dutch golden age paintings though less often in the act of being played. In a number of Vermeer’s paintings the instrument is depicted lying on the floor or leaning against a wall. The double curved shape of the instrument in Netscher’s picture are less commonly seen and are similar to those of a surviving instrument of 1600 (Ashmolean Museum) attributed to one of the greatest viol makers, John Rose of Bridewell, London (d.1611).