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The hunt is often metaphorically interpreted as the man’s pursuit of woman in seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting. Alcohol, however, has rendered Metsu’s hunter incapable of reaping the rewards of his hunting prowess. The lady, standing expectantly in the doorway with empty glass, looks beyond the sleeping figure to a second man who leans and mocks from a window, arm raised, ready to steal the huntsman’s ‘bird’, or rather his opportunity for dalliance with the mistress of the house. The picture is remarkable for its virtuosic depiction of material textures as well as its vivid colouring.

The Wallace Collection





oil on canvas


H 40.3 x W 34.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1845; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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