In the Protestant Netherlands, themes which had traditionally been favored by Catholic artists, such as the Madonna and Child, were replaced by depictions of domestic virtue. This painting illustrates two qualities highly valued in Dutch culture: an orderly home and a nurturing mother. De Hooch favored this sort of subject matter during the last thirty years of his career. As is evident in this painting, he paid careful attention to the effects of natural lighting within a geometrically defined interior space. Depictions of Dutch women within the confines of the home were more than plentiful in the seventeenth century, but de Hooch's works are easily recognizable for the sensitivity with which he portrayed his figures of mothers with their children.