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Still life of fruit and a pie on a table

The Royal Collection has a stunning collection of seventeenth century Dutch art

Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629-Amsterdam 1667)

The Cello Player c.1658

RCIN 405534

Picture Gallery, Buckingham Palace

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A young woman descends a staircase dangling a page of sheet music from her right hand. She looks down at a young man tuning a cello. He is seated in front of a spinet and wears a hat. Above is another young man looking on from an arched landing. The young woman’s pet dog greets her at the bottom step.

The subject of The Cello Player is love: the poses of the two figures, the emphasis placed on the shared pleasures of music and the presence of the dog are elements often used in such scenes. The observer on the landing, whose pose is traditionally related to melancholy, is perhaps a frustrated lover.