Gerard ter Borch: Officer writing a letter with a trumpeter (1654)

(Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA)

Gerard ter Borch painted a lot of genre scenes and a Guard room scene like this were a favorite subject. Although we can't see what the officer is writing, several objects in the painting give us a hint. The ace of hearts on the floor suggests that the letter being written is a love-letter. The shards of clay pipe scattered around the card refer both to merrymaking activities usual in such a room, and to frustrations the letter-writer is having in expressing his romantic feelings. Ter Borch made several versions of this painting. This painting is from 1654.

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