Born in Leiden, Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667) was the son of artist Jaques Metsue, who had moved there from Flanders. He was probably apprenticed to his father before becoming a pupil of Gerard Dou, then Leiden’s leading genre painter. In 1648, he helped found Leiden’s artist guild and later in 1657 he moved to Amsterdam, where he was to remain. Although Leiden was renowned for its ‘fijnschilders’, their style of meticulously precise brushwork only came into its own after Metsu had moved. Metsu painted genre scenes, especially people in domestic interiors and street scenes as well as a number of religious depictions. His work was influenced by various artists, particularly his teacher Gerard Dou, painters such as Nicolaus Knupfer and Jan Steen as well as the circle of Gerard ter Borch and Johannes Vermeer. He borrowed elements from their work and employed these in highly original ways.