Pieter de Hooch, a Dutch Golden Age painter, showcases his skills in this inviting genre painting completed in 1658. The oil on canvas piece, measuring 71 x 64 cm, depicts a flirtatious and possibly contentious encounter between a pretty hostess and her customer over payment. Surrounding the couple are skillfully portrayed everyday details typical of De Hooch’s style.
Known for clarity of perspective and harmony of light, De Hooch was considered to be comparably skilled to Jan Vermeer, another Delft artist who worked during the same period. Both artists were members of the Delft Guild of St. Luke but had slightly different visions – while Vermeer focused more on interior scenes with his signature use of light and shadow; De Hooch often showcased outdoor or open spaces with fewer people.
The painting is currently held in a private collection and exemplifies the Baroque style that was prevalent at the time it was painted. It stands out as an exceptional example through its use of visual narrative to tell a story about everyday life for working people in 17th-century Holland.