Part of a tradition of 'Guard Room' scenes, this oval panel depicts a pair of soldiers playing cards with a flamboyantly dressed woman, while a third emerges from the adjacent door. Stoop's attention to detail plays itself out in an immaculately crafted paint surface; details such as the projecting latches of the opened clothes-chest demonstrate the consummate precision of his brush.
Sometimes identified as the brother of Dirck Stoop (c. 1618-1681), Maerten painted battle pictures and suggestive conversation scenes. He is often linked with Nicolaes Knupfer (1603-1655) on stylistic grounds; the two were contemporaries in their studies at the artist's guild in Utrecht. Although Maerten attained considerable skill in crafting his jewel-like paintings, the tragically short-lived painter left only a few known works; this picture is a rare example of his talent at its best.