The Suitor’s Visit (c.1658). Gerard ter Borch (Dutch, 1617-1681). Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Ter Borch’s paintings often allude to music, a common 17th-century metaphor for love and harmony between family members, lovers, or friends. In The Suitor’s Visit, the arrival of a gentleman has interrupted a duet. A young woman has risen to greet him, leaving her bass viol and sheet music on the table, while her seated friend continues to strum a lute.