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Together with the lute, the viola da gamba was probably the most frequently represented instrument throughout the centuries, whether in painting, sculpture or miniature.
The viol's soft but clear tone imitates the human voice and is the perfect complement for the lute.
Because patterned marble floors can been seen in many genre interiors from the middle and the third quarter of the 17th century, we have been led to believe that they were present in nearly all well-to-do interiors.
Willemijn Fock, a historian of decorative arts, has demonstrated that floors paved with marble tiles were extremely rare in 17th-century Netherlands.
In addition, it was easier to play and keep in tune.
Being smaller and less delicate, it was far more portable.
While actual early carpets of this kind are rarely preserved, European painting by the great masters such as Giotto, Ghirlandaio, Holbein (see detail left), Van Eyck, Lotto, and Vermeer left many representations of carpets from Turkey and Iran.The idea that the lady was the 'masterpiece of nature' appears in countless songs, poems and tracts on beautiful women in the 17th century." On the other hand, hypothesizing that the "rugged" landscape (painted in the manner of Jacob van Ruisdael) was intended as a counterpoint the idyllic scene of the three musicians, Arthur K. points out that it includes a dead tree truck, a motif which Van Ruisdael was fond of using to indicate death and decay.Perhaps, unlike other genre painters who worked more explicitly with the same themes, Vermeer avoided over-clarification and finger-wagging allowing the spectator greater latitude in relating to the picture.Although it was played by all classes, the cittern was a premier instrument of casual music making for the common people, much like the guitar at the present day.In three paintings, , the cittern lies partially hidden on a table or a chair even though the more informed viewer has no problem in identifying its typical flat body, different from the pear-shaped body of the lute.
The fact that so many carpets appear in Dutch interiors of the time might lead us to believe that they were an integral part of the Dutch home.