The Sick Child, Gabriël Metsu, c. 1664 - c. 1666
In 1663 the plague raged throughout Amsterdam, killing one in ten citizens. Dating from around this time is Metsu’s poignant portrayal of a sick child, rendered in powerful, bright colours against a grey background. The scene is reminiscent of a pieta, a representation of the Virgin Mary holding her son’s dead body in her lap. The painting of the Crucifixion on the back wall also recalls Christ’s suffering.