Judith Leyster Paints Serenade

Leyster was particularly innovative in her domestic genre scenes.

In them, she creates quiet scenes of women at home, which were not a popular theme in Holland until the 1650s. Much of her other work was similar in nature to that of many of her contemporaries, such as Hals, Ultrecht Caravagisti, Hendrick Terbrugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst, and Jan Steen; such genre paintings, generally of taverns and other scenes of entertainment, catered to the tastes and interests of a growing segment of the Dutch middle class.

A cheerful lutenist, extravagantly dressed and singing a song - a serenade - is accompanying himself on the lute, a stringed instrument that was especially popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The painting appears to capture a moment in time, as if the lutenist were caught in the middle of a song. The young man glances upward and seems entirely engrossed in his music. Or perhaps he is looking up to the object of his serenade?