Pieter De Hooch’s oil on wood painting, The Visit, depicts a group of figures enjoying each other’s company in a domestic setting. Measuring 26 3/4 x 23 inches, the painting falls under the genre of Merry Company and is characterized by its small size and finely nuanced observation of everyday living. De Hooch was known for his cultured treatment of color and light, with variations in tone and perspective evident in his works.
The Visit was painted around 1657 during De Hooch’s transitional phase towards utilizing a darker and richer range of colors. Similar to his contemporary Jan Vermeer, De Hooch had an interest in portraying fashionable life in Amsterdam and often depicted the domestic life of women and children. The delicate treatment of light evident in The Visit is reminiscent of Vermeer’s style while highlighting De Hooch’s own unique artistic approach.
Currently housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, The Visit holds significance as one of the first works where De Hooch used linear perspective to construct a realistic interior space. As the eldest child who outlived all his siblings, Pieter De Hooch left behind a body of work that reflects his sense for capturing scenes from everyday life with precision whilst evoking emotion through nuanced touches such as varied thresholds or glimpses into adjoining rooms that hint at intricate human stories taking place outside the viewfinder.