Metsu, Gabriel (Dutch, 1629-1667)

The Sick Child


Reference Type:
Artwork
Image:
Metsu.SickChild.jpg
Year:
c. 1664-1666
Notes/Description:
This image dates from just after a time of plague in Amsterdam, which killed one of every ten citizens. The child, flushed and listless, lies on his mother’s lap. She gives him her complete attention, both physical and emotional, most likely understanding that his chances of survival were not that good. The position of the child’s body is reminiscent of the way in which the body of Christ was traditionally represented on his mother’s lap after being taken down from the cross—the scene depicted in the painting on the wall behind. Perhaps this reflects the mother’s hope that God and Jesus will spare her child and if not, that he will be welcomed into Heaven. Notes by Mariann Smith
Keywords:
Art
Art of Medicine
Children
Family
Illness and the Family
Love
Collection:
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam