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The Music Lesson

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.


c. 1670


Gerard ter Borch (Dutch, 1617-1681)

About this artwork

Gerard ter Borch specialized in small-scale portraits and scenes of everyday life. He often painted images like this one, featuring military officers and elegant young women conversing, making music, or exchanging letters. Here, a lady plays an elaborate stringed instrument, the double-headed lute, while her companion marks the tempo for her. He is presumably her music instructor, but the similarity in their ages and the presence of the bed in the background make the precise relationship of the figures tantalizingly ambiguous.


On View, Gallery 212


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Gerard ter Borch


The Music Lesson


Netherlands (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed: TB


63.6 × 50.4 cm (25 × 19 7/8 in.); Framed: 84.8 × 70.8 × 6.4 cm (33 3/8 × 27 7/8 × 2 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Charles T. Yerkes

Reference Number


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