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Dutch Golden Age painting

Dutch Golden Age painting

Overview
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade, science, and art. The northern Netherlandish provinces that made up the new state had traditionally been less important artistic centres than cities in Flanders in the south, and the upheavals and large-scale transfers of population of the war, and the sharp break with the old monarchist and Catholic cultural traditions, meant that Dutch art needed to reinvent itself entirely, a task in which it was very largely successful.

Although Dutch painting of the Golden Age comes in the general European period of Baroque painting, and often shows many of its characteristics, most lacks the idealization and love of splendour typical of much Baroque work, including that of neighbouring Flanders
Flemish Baroque painting
Flemish Baroque painting is the art produced in the Southern Netherlands between about 1585, when the Dutch Republic was split from the Habsburg Spain regions to the south by the recapturing of Antwerp by the Spanish, until about 1700, when Habsburg authority ended with the death of King Charles II...

.
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Encyclopedia
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade, science, and art. The northern Netherlandish provinces that made up the new state had traditionally been less important artistic centres than cities in Flanders in the south, and the upheavals and large-scale transfers of population of the war, and the sharp break with the old monarchist and Catholic cultural traditions, meant that Dutch art needed to reinvent itself entirely, a task in which it was very largely successful.

Although Dutch painting of the Golden Age comes in the general European period of Baroque painting, and often shows many of its characteristics, most lacks the idealization and love of splendour typical of much Baroque work, including that of neighbouring Flanders
Flemish Baroque painting
Flemish Baroque painting is the art produced in the Southern Netherlands between about 1585, when the Dutch Republic was split from the Habsburg Spain regions to the south by the recapturing of Antwerp by the Spanish, until about 1700, when Habsburg authority ended with the death of King Charles II...

. Most work, including that for which the period is best known, reflects the traditions of detailed realism
Realism (visual arts)
Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history; it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of...

 inherited from Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

.

A distinctive feature of the period is the proliferation of distinct genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

s of paintings, with the majority of artists producing the bulk of their work within one of these. The full development of this specialization is seen from the late 1620s, and the period from then until the French invasion of 1672
Rampjaar
The rampjaar was the year 1672 in Dutch history. In that year,the Republic of the Seven United Provinces was after the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War attacked by England, France, and the prince-electors Bernhard von Galen, bishop of Münster and Maximilian Henry of...

 is the core of Golden Age painting.

Types of painting



A distinctive feature of the period, compared to earlier European painting, was the small amount of religious painting. Dutch Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 forbade religious painting in churches, and though biblical subjects were acceptable in private homes, relatively few were produced. The other traditional classes of history and portrait painting were present, but the period is more notable for a huge variety of other genres, sub-divided into numerous specialized categories, such as scenes of peasant life, landscapes, townscapes, landscapes with animals, maritime paintings, flower paintings and still life
Still life
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made...

s of various types. The development of many of these types of painting was decisively influenced by 17th-century Dutch artists.

The widely held theory of the "hierarchy of genres
Hierarchy of genres
A hierarchy of genres is any formalization which ranks different genres in an art form in terms of their prestige and cultural value....

" in painting, whereby some types were regarded as more prestigious than others, led many painters to want to produce history painting. However this was the hardest to sell, as even Rembrandt found. Many were forced to produce portraits or genre scenes, which sold much more easily. In descending order of status the categories in the hierarchy were:
  • history painting
    History painting
    History painting is a genre in painting defined by subject matter rather than an artistic style, depicting a moment in a narrative story, rather than a static subject such as a portrait...

    , including allegories
    Allegory
    Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

     and popular religious subjects.
  • Portrait painting
    Portrait painting
    Portrait painting is a genre in painting, where the intent is to depict the visual appearance of the subject. Beside human beings, animals, pets and even inanimate objects can be chosen as the subject for a portrait...

    , including the tronie
    Tronie
    A tronie is a common type, or group of types, of works of Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume...

  • genre painting or scenes of everyday life
  • landscape
    Landscape art
    Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

    , including seascapes, battlescenes, cityscapes, and ruins.
  • still life
    Still life
    A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made...


The Dutch concentrated heavily on the "lower" categories, but by no means rejected the concept of the hierarchy. Most paintings were relatively small – the only common type of really large paintings were group portraits. Painting directly onto walls hardly existed; when a wall-space in a public building needed decorating fitted framed canvas was normally used. For the extra precision possible on a hard surface many painters continued to use wooden panels, some time after the rest of Western Europe had abandoned them; some used copper plates, usually recycling plates from printmaking
Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

. In turn the number of surviving Golden Age paintings was reduced by them being overpainted with new works by artists throughout the 18th and 19th century – poor ones were usually cheaper than a new canvas, stetcher and frame. There was very little Dutch sculpture during the period; it is mostly found in tomb monuments and attached to public buildings, and small sculptures for houses are a noticeable gap, their place taken by silverware and ceramics
Ceramic art
In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

. Painted delftware
Delftware
Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century....

 tiles were very cheap and common, if rarely of really high quality, but silver, especially in the auricular style, led Europe. With this exception, the best artistic efforts were concentrated on painting and printmaking.

The art world


Foreigners remarked on the enormous quantities of art produced, and the large fairs where many paintings were sold – it has been roughly estimated that over 1.3 million Dutch pictures were painted in the 20 years after 1640 alone. The volume of production meant that prices were fairly low, except for the best known artists; as in most subsequent periods there was a steep price gradient for more fashionable artists. Those without a strong contemporary reputation or fallen out of fashion, including many now considered among the greatest of the period, such as Vermeer, Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

 and Rembrandt in his last years, had considerable problems earning a living, and died poor; many artists had other jobs, or abandoned art entirely. In particular the French invasion of 1672 (the Rampjaar
Rampjaar
The rampjaar was the year 1672 in Dutch history. In that year,the Republic of the Seven United Provinces was after the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War attacked by England, France, and the prince-electors Bernhard von Galen, bishop of Münster and Maximilian Henry of...

, or "year of disaster"), brought a severe depression to the art market, which never quite returned to earlier heights. The distribution of pictures was very wide: "yea many tymes, blacksmithes, cobblers etts., will have some picture or other by their Forge and in their stalle. Such is the generall Notion, enclination and delight that these Countrie Native have to Painting" reported an English traveller in 1640. There were for virtually the first time many professional art dealers, several also significant artists, like Vermeer and his father, Jan van Goyen and Willem Kalf
Willem Kalf
- Life and work :Willem Kalf was born in Rotterdam, in 1619. He was previously thought to have been born in 1622, but H. E. van Gelder’s important archival research has established the painter’s correct place and date of birth. Kalf was born into a prosperous patrician family in Rotterdam, where...

. Rembrandt's dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh
Hendrick van Uylenburgh
Hendrick van Uylenburgh was an influential Dutch Golden Age art dealer who helped launch the careers of Rembrandt, Govert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol and other painters....

 and his son Gerrit
Gerrit van Uylenburgh
Gerrit van Uylenburgh , or Gerrit Uylenburgh, was a Dutch Golden Age painter and art-dealer. He was the eldest son of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and took over the family art-dealing business after Hendrick's death and burial in the Westerkerk church in 1661...

 were among the most important. Landscapes were the easiest uncommissioned works to sell, and their painters were the "common footmen
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 in the Army of Art" according to Samuel van Hoogstraten
The technical quality of Dutch artists was generally very high, still mostly following the old medieval system of training by apprenticeship with a master; typically workshops were smaller than in Flanders or Italy, with only one or two apprentices at a time, the number often being restricted by guild regulations. The turmoil of the early years of the Republic, with displaced artists from the South moving north and the loss of traditional markets in the court and church, led to a resurgence of artists guilds, often still called the Guild of Saint Luke
Guild of Saint Luke
The Guild of Saint Luke was the most common name for a city guild for painters and other artists in early modern Europe, especially in the Low Countries. They were named in honor of the Evangelist Luke, the patron saint of artists, who was identified by John of Damascus as having painted the...

; in many cases these involved the artists extricating themselves from medieval groupings where they shared a guild with several other trades, such as housepainting. Several new guilds were established in the period: Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 in 1579, Haarlem
Haarlem Guild of St. Luke
The Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke was first a Christian, and later a city Guild for a large number of trades falling under the patron saints Luke the Evangelist and Saint Eligius.-History:...

 in 1590, and Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

 and Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

 between 1609 and 1611,. The Leiden authorities diistrusted guilds and did not allow one until 1648., while The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 with its Catholic court, split itself in two in 1656 with the Confrerie Pictura
Confrerie Pictura
The Confrerie Pictura was a more or less academic club of artists founded in 1656 in The Hague, by local art painters, who were unsatisfied by the Guild of Saint Luke there.-History:The guild of St...

. Later in the century it began to become clear to all involved that the old idea of a guild controlling both training and sales no long worked well, and gradually the guilds were replaced with academies only concerned with the training of artists. With the obvious exception of portraits, many more Dutch paintings were done "speculatively" without a specific commission than was then the case in other countries – one of many ways in which the Dutch art market showed the future.

There were many dynasties of artists, and many married the daughters of their masters or other artists. Many artists came from well-off families, who paid fees for their apprenticeships, and they often married into property. Rembrandt and Jan Steen were both enrolled at the University of Leiden for a while. Several cities had distinct styles and specialities by subject, but Amsterdam was the largest artistic centre, because of its great wealth.
Dutch artists were strikingly less concerned about artistic theory than those of many nations, and less given to discussing their art; it appears that there was also much less interest in artistic theory in general intellectual circles and among the wider public than was by then common in Italy. As nearly all commissions and sales were private, and between bourgeois individuals whose accounts have not been preserved, these are also less well documented than elsewhere. But Dutch art was a source of national pride, and the major biographers are crucial sources of information. These are Karel van Mander (Het Schilderboeck, 1604), who essentially covers the previous century, and Arnold Houbraken
Arnold Houbraken
Arnold Houbraken was a Dutch painter and writer from Dordrecht, now remembered mainly as a biographer of artists from the Dutch Golden Age. He had ten children. His son Jacobus Houbraken was an engraver of portraits and book illustrations, including books by his father...

 (De groote schouburgh der Neder­lantsche konstschilders en schilderessen – "The Great Theatre of Dutch Painters", 1718–21). Both followed, and indeed exceeded, Vasari in including a great number of short lives of artists – over 500 in Houbraken's case – and both are considered generally accurate on factual matters. The German artist Joachim von Sandrart
Joachim von Sandrart
Joachim von Sandrart was a German Baroque art-historian and painter, active in Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age.-Biography:Sandrart was born in Frankfurt, but the family originated from Mons...

 (1606–1688) had worked for periods in Holland, and his Deutsche Akademie in the same format covers many Dutch artists he knew. Houbraken's master, and Rembrandt's pupil, was Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678), whose Zichtbare wereld and Inleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst (1678) contain more critical than biographical information, and are among the most important treatises on painting of the period. Like other Dutch works on the theory of art, they expound many commonplaces of Renaissance theory and do not entirely reflect contemporary Dutch art, still often concentrating on history painting.

History painting


This category comprises not only paintings that depicted historical events of the past, but also paintings that showed biblical, mythological, literary and allegorical
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 scenes. Recent historical events essentially fell out of the category, and were treated in a realist fashion, as the appropriate combination of portraits with marine, townscape or landscape subjects. Large dramatic historical or Biblical scenes were produced less frequently than in other countries, as there was no local market for church art, and few large aristocratic Baroque houses to fill. More than that, the Protestant population of major cities had been exposed to some remarkably hypocritical uses of Mannerist allegory in unsuccessful Habsburg propaganda during the Dutch Revolt
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

, which had produced a strong reaction towards realism and a distrust of grandiose visual rhetoric. History painting was now a "minority art", although to an extent this was redressed by a relatively keen interest in print versions of history subjects

More than in other types of painting, Dutch history painters continued to be influenced by Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 painting. Prints and copies of Italian masterpieces circulated and suggested certain compositional schemes. The growing Dutch skill in the depiction of light was brought to bear on styles derived from Italy, notably that of Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

. Some Dutch painters also travelled to Italy, though this was less common than with their Flemish contemporaries, as can be seen from the membership of the Bentvueghels
Bentvueghels
The Bentvueghels were a society of mostly Dutch and Flemish artists active in Rome from about 1620 to 1720. They are also known as the Schildersbent .-Activities:...

 club in Rome.
In the early part of the century many Northern Mannerist artists with styles formed in the previous century continued to work, until the 1630s in the cases of Abraham Bloemaert
Abraham Bloemaert
Abraham Bloemaert was a Dutch painter and printmaker in etching and engraving. He was one of the "Haarlem Mannerists" from about 1585, but in the new century altered his style to fit new Baroque trends...

 and Joachim Wtewael
Joachim Wtewael
Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael , was a notable Dutch painter and engraver.Wtewael was born and died in Utrecht, where he began his career engraving glass with his father...

. Many history paintings were small in scale, with the German painter (based in Rome) Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer was a German artist working in Rome who died at only thirty-two, but was very influential in the early 17th century. His relatively few paintings were small scale, nearly all painted on copper plates, of the type often known as cabinet paintings. They include a variety of light...

 as much an influence as Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

 (both died in 1610) on Dutch painters like Pieter Lastman
Pieter Lastman
Pieter Lastman was a Dutch painter . Lastman is considered important because of his work as a painter of history pieces and because his pupils included Rembrandt and Jan Lievens...

, Rembrandt's master, and Jan and Jacob Pynas
Jacob Pynas
The brothers Jan Symonsz Pynas and Jacob Symonsz Pynas were Dutch painters of the Baroque period. Their sister Meynsge married the artist Jan Tengnagel in 1611...

. Compared to Baroque history painting from other countries, they shared the Dutch emphasis on realism, and narrative directness, and are sometimes known as the "Pre-Rembrandtists", as Rembrandt's early paintings were in this style.

Utrecht Caravaggism describes a group of artists who produced both history painting and generally large genre scenes in an Italian-influenced style, often making heavy use of chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro in art is "an Italian term which literally means 'light-dark'. In paintings the description refers to clear tonal contrasts which are often used to suggest the volume and modelling of the subjects depicted"....

. Utrecht, before the revolt the most important city in the new Dutch territory, was an unusual Dutch city, still about 40% Catholic in the mid-century, even more among the elite groups, who included many rural nobility and gentry with town houses there. The leading artists were Hendrick ter Brugghen
Hendrick ter Brugghen
Hendrick Jansz ter Brugghen was a Dutch painter, and a leading member of the Dutch followers of Caravaggio — the so-called Dutch Caravaggisti.- Biography :...

, Gerard van Honthorst
Gerard van Honthorst
Gerard van Honthorst , also known as Gerrit van Honthorst and in Italy as Gherardo delle Notti for his nighttime candlelit subjects, was a Dutch Golden Age painter from Utrecht.-Biography:...

 and Dirck van Baburen
Dirck van Baburen
Dirck Jaspersz. van Baburen was a Dutch painter associated with the Utrecht Caravaggisti.-Biography:Dirck van Baburen was probably born in Wijk bij Duurstede, but his family moved to Utrecht when he was still young. He was also known as Teodoer van Baburen and Theodor Baburen...

, and the school was active about 1630, although van Honthorst continued until the 1650s as a successful court painter to the English, Dutch and Danish courts in a more classical style.

Rembrandt began as a history painter before finding financial success as a portraitist, and he never relinguished his ambitions in this area. A great number of his etching
Etching
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

s are of narrative religious scenes, and the story of his last history commission, The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis is a 1661–62 oil painting by the Dutch painter Rembrandt, which was originally the largest he ever painted, at around five-by-five metres in the shape of a lunette. The painting was commissioned by the Amsterdam city council for the Town Hall. After the work had...

 (1661) illustrates both his commitment to the form and the difficulties he had in finding an audience. Several artists, many his pupils, attempted with some success to continue his very personal style; Govaert Flinck was the most successful. Gerard de Lairesse
Gerard de Lairesse
Gerard or Gérard de Lairesse was a Dutch Golden Age painter and art theorist.Lairesse was born in Liège. His broad range of talent included music, poetry, and the theatre. He was perhaps the most celebrated Dutch painter in the period following the death of Rembrandt...

 (1640–1711) was another of these, before falling under heavy influence from French classicism, and becoming its leading Dutch proponent as both artist and theoretician.

Nudity was effectively the preserve of the history painter, although many portraitists dressed up their occasional nudes (nearly always female) with a classical title, as Rembrandt did. For all their uninhibited suggestiveness, genre painters rarely revealed more than a generous cleavage or stretch of thigh, usually when painting prostitutes or "Italian" peasants.

Portraits


Portrait painting thrived in the Netherlands in the 17th century, as there was a large mercantile class who were far more ready to commission portraits than their equivalents in other countries; a summary of various estimates of total production arrives at between 750,000 and 1,100,000 portraits. Rembrandt enjoyed his greatest period of financial success as a young Amsterdam portraitist, but like other artists, grew rather bored with painting commissioned portraits of burghers: "artists travel along this road without delight", according to van Mander.

While Dutch portrait painting avoids the swagger and excessive rhetoric of the aristocratic Baroque portraiture current in the rest of 17th century Europe, the sombre clothing of male and in many cases female sitters, and the Calvinist feeling that the inclusion of props, possessions or views of land in the background would show the sin of pride leads to an undeniable sameness in many Dutch portraits, for all their technical quality. Even a standing pose is usually avoided, as a full-length might also show pride. Poses are undemonstrative, especially for women, though children may be allowed more freedom. The classic moment for having a portrait painted was upon marriage, when the new husband and wife more often than not occupied separate frames in a pair of paintings. Rembrandt's later portraits compel by force of characterization, and sometimes a narrative element, but even his early portraits can be dispiriting en masse, as in the roomful of 'starter Rembrandts' donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

 in New York.

The other great portraitist of the period is Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

, whose famously lively brushwork and ability to show sitters looking relaxed and cheerful adds excitement to even the most unpromising subjects, though the extremely "nonchalant pose" of the example at left is exceptional: "no other portrait from this period is so informal". The sitter was a wealthy textile merchant who had already commissioned Hals' only individual life-sized full length portrait ten years before. In this much smaller work for a private chamber he wears riding clothes.Jan de Bray
Jan de Bray
Jan de Bray , was a Dutch Golden Age painter.-Biography:Jan de Bray was born in Haarlem. According to Houbraken he was the most famous pupil of his father, the architect and poet Salomon de Bray. Houbraken called Jan the "pearl in Haarlem's crown"...

 encouraged his sitters to pose costumed as figures from classical history, but many of his works are of his own family. Thomas de Keyser
Thomas de Keyser
Thomas de Keyser was a Dutch painter and architect.De Keyser was born and died in Amsterdam. He excelled as a portrait painter, and was the most in-demand portrait painter in the Netherlands until the 1630s, when Rembrandt eclipsed him in popularity...

, Bartholomeus van der Helst
Bartholomeus van der Helst
Bartholomeus van der Helst was a Dutch portrait painter.-Biography:Born in Haarlem, the son of a Haarlem innkeeper, Van der Helst moved to Amsterdam some time before 1636, for he was married there in that year...

, Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol was a Dutch artist, etcher, and draftsman. Although his surviving work is rare, it displays Rembrandt's influence; like his master, Bol favored historical subjects, portraits, numerous self-portraits, and single figures in exotic finery.The street Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam was...

 and others, including many mentioned below as history or genre painters, did their best to enliven more conventional works. Portraiture, less affected by fashion than other types of painting, remained the safe fallback for Dutch artists.

From what little we know of the studio procedures of artists, it seems that, as elsewhere in Europe, the face was probably drawn and perhaps painted at an initial sitting or two. The typical number of further sittings is unclear - between zero (for a Rembrandt full-length) and 50 appear documented. The clothes were left at the studio and might well be painted by assistants, or a bought in specialist master, although, or because, they were regarded as a very important part of the painting. Married and never-married women can be distinguished by their dress, highlighting how few single women were painted, except in family groups. As elsewhere, the accuracy of the clothes shown is variable - striped and patterned clothes were worn, but artists rarely show them, understandably avoiding the extra work. Lace and ruff
Ruff
The Ruff is a medium-sized wading bird that breeds in marshes and wet meadows across northern Eurasia. This highly gregarious sandpiper is migratory and sometimes forms huge flocks in its winter grounds, which include southern and western Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Australia...

 collars were unavoidable, and presented a formidable challenge to painters intent on realism. Rembrandt evolved a more effective way of painting patterned lace, laying in broad white stokes, and then painting lightly in black to show the pattern. Another way of doing this was to paint in white over a black layer, and scratch off the white with the end of the brush to show the pattern.

At the end of the century there was a fashion for showing sitters in a semi-fancy dress, begun in England by van Dyck in the 1630s, known as "picturesque" or "Roman" dress. Aristocratic, and militia, sitters allowed themselves more freedom in bright dress and expansive settings than burghers, and religious affiliations probably affected many depictions. By the end of the century aristocratic, or French, values were spreading among the burghers, and depictions were allowed more freedom and display.

A distinctive type of painting, combining elements of the portrait, history, and genre painting was the tronie
Tronie
A tronie is a common type, or group of types, of works of Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume...

. This was usually a half-length of a single figure which concentrated on capturing an unusual mood or expression. The actual identity of the model was not supposed to be important, but they might represent a historical figure and be in exotic or historic costume. Jan Lievens
Jan Lievens
Jan Lievens was a Dutch painter, usually associated with Rembrandt, working in a similar style.-Biography:According to Arnold Houbraken, Jan was the son of Lieven Hendriksze, a tapestry worker , and was trained by Joris Verschoten. He was sent to Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam at about the age of 10...

 and Rembrandt, many of whose self-portraits are also tronies (especially his etched ones), were among those who developed the genre.
Family portraits tended, as in Flanders, to be set outdoors in gardens, but without an extensive view as later in England, and to be relatively informal in dress and mood. Group portraits, largely a Dutch invention, were popular among the large numbers of civic associations that were a notable part of Dutch life, such as the officers of a city's schutterij
Schutterij
Schutterij refers to a voluntary city guard or citizen militia in the medieval and early modern Netherlands, intended to protect the town or city from attack and act in case of revolt or fire. Their training grounds were often on open spaces within the city, near the city walls, but, when the...

 or militia guards, boards of trustees and regents of guilds and charitable foundations and the like. Especially in the first half of the century, portraits were very formal and stiff in composition. Groups were often seated around a table, each person looking at the viewer. Much attention was paid to fine details in clothing, and where applicable, to furniture and other signs of a person's position in society. Later in the century groups became livelier and colours brighter. Rembrandt's Syndics of the Drapers' Guild is a subtle treatment of a group round a table.

Scientists often posed with instruments and objects of their study around them. Physicians sometimes posed together around a cadaver, a so called 'Anatomical Lesson', the most famous one being Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is a 1632 oil painting by Rembrandt housed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is pictured explaining the musculature of the arm to medical professionals. Some of the spectators are various doctors who paid commissions...

(1632, Mauritshuis
Mauritshuis
The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is an art museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Previously the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, it now has a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans...

, The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

). Boards of trustees preferred an image of austerity and humility, posing in dark clothing (which by its refinement testified to their prominent standing in society), often seated around a table, with solemn expressions on their faces.

Most group portraits of militia guards were commissioned in Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

 and Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, and were much more flamboyant and relaxed or even boisterous than other types of portraits, as well as much larger. Early examples showed them dining, but later groups showed most figures standing for a more dynamic composition. Rembrandt's famous The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq better known as the Night Watch
Night Watch (painting)
Night Watch or The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq is the common name of one of the most famous works by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn....

(1642), was an ambitious and not entirely successful attempt to show a group in action, setting out for a patrol or parade, also innovative in avoiding the typical very wide format of such works.

The cost of group portraits was usually shared by the subjects, often not equally. The amount paid might determine each person's place in the picture, either head to toe in full regalia in the foreground or face only in the back of the group. Sometimes all group members paid an equal sum, which was likely to lead to quarrels when some members gained a more prominent place in the picture than others. In Amsterdam most of these paintings would ultimately end up in the possession of the city council, and many are now on display in the Amsterdams Historisch Museum
Amsterdams Historisch Museum
The Amsterdam Museum, until 2011 called the Amsterdams Historisch Museum, is a museum about the history of Amsterdam. Since 1975, it is located in the old city orphanage between Kalverstraat and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.-History:...

; there are no significant examples outside the Netherlands.

Scenes of everyday life


Genre paintings show scenes that prominently feature figures to whom no specific identity can be attached – they are not portraits or intended as historical figures. Together with landscape painting, the development and enormous popularity of genre painting is the most distinctive feature of Dutch painting in this period, although in this case they were also very popular in Flemish painting. Many are single figures, like the Vermeer Milkmaid
The Milkmaid (Vermeer)
The Milkmaid , sometimes called The Kitchen Maid, is an oil-on-canvas painting of a "milkmaid", in fact a domestic kitchen maid, by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer...

above; others may show large groups at some social occasion, or crowds. There were a large number of sub-types within the genre: single figures, peasant families, tavern scenes, "merry company" parties, women at work about the house, scenes of village or town festivities (though these were still more common in Flemish painting), market scenes, barracks scenes, scenes with horses or farm animals, in snow, by moonlight, and many more. In fact most of these had specific terms in Dutch, but there was no overall Dutch term equivalent to "genre painting" – until the late 18th century the English often called them "drolleries". Some artists worked mostly within one of these sub-types, especially after about 1625. Over the course of the century, genre paintings tended to reduce in size.

Though genre paintings provide many insights into the daily life of 17th-century citizens of all classes, their accuracy cannot always be taken for granted. Many which seemed only to depict everyday scenes actually illustrated Dutch proverbs and sayings or conveyed a moralistic message – the meaning of which may now need to be deciphered by art historians, though some are clear enough. Many artists, and no doubt purchasers, certainly tried to have things both ways, enjoying the depiction of disorderly households or brothel scenes, while providing a moral interpretation – the works of Jan Steen
Jan Steen
Jan Havickszoon Steen was a Dutch genre painter of the 17th century . Psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour are marks of his trade.-Life:...

, whose other profession was as an innkeeper, are an example. The balance between these elements is still debated by art historians today. The titles given later to paintings often distinguish between "tavern
Tavern
A tavern is a place of business where people gather to drink alcoholic beverages and be served food, and in some cases, where travelers receive lodging....

s" or "inn
INN
InterNetNews is a Usenet news server package, originally released by Rich Salz in 1991, and presented at the Summer 1992 USENIX conference in San Antonio, Texas...

s" and "brothel
Brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

s", but in practice these were very often the same establishments, as many taverns had rooms above or behind set aside for sexual purposes: "Inn in front; brothel behind" was a Dutch proverb
Proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

. The Steen above is very clearly an exemplum, and though each of the individual components of it is realistically depicted, the overall scene is not a plausible depiction of a real moment; typically of genre painting, it is a situation that is depicted, and satirized.



The Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 tradition of recondite emblem books had, in the hands of the 17th-century Dutch – almost universally literate in the vernacular, but mostly without education in the classics – turned into the popularist and highly moralistic works of Jacob Cats
Jacob Cats
Jacob Cats was a Dutch poet, humorist, jurist and politician. He is most famous for his emblem books.-Early years:...

, Roemer Visscher
Roemer Visscher
Roemer Pieterszoon Visscher was a successful Dutch merchant and writer in the period often called the Dutch Golden Age.-Life:...

, and others, often based in popular proverb
Proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

s. The illustrations to these are often quoted directly in paintings, and since the start of the 20th century art historians have attached proverbs, sayings and mottoes to a great number of genre works. Another popular source of meaning is visual puns using the great number of Dutch slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 terms in the sexual area: the vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

 could be represented by a lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

 (luit) or stocking
Stocking
A stocking, , is a close-fitting, variously elastic garment covering the foot and lower part of the leg. Stockings vary in color, design and transparency...

 (kous), and sex by a bird (vogelen), among many other options, and purely visual symbols such as shoes, spouts, and jugs and flagons on their side.

The same painters often painted works in a very different spirit of housewives or other women at rest in the home or at work – they massively outnumber similar treatments of men, in fact working class men going about their jobs are notably absent from Dutch Golden Age art, with landscapes populated by travellers and idlers but rarely tillers of the soil. This group of subjects was a Dutch invention, reflecting the cultural preoccupations of the age, and was to be adopted by artists from other countries, especially France, in the two centuries following.

The tradition developed from the realism and detailed background activity of Early Netherlandish painting, which Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder were among the first to turn into their principal subjects, also making use of proverbs. The Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

 painters Willem Pieterszoon Buytewech
Willem Pieterszoon Buytewech
Willem Pieterszoon Buytewech was a Dutch painter, draughtsman and etcher of the Golden Age. He is often considered the "inventor" of Dutch genre painting. For his preference of irony, his contemporaries named him “Gheestige Willem” .-Life:Buytewech was born and died in Rotterdam...

, Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

 and Esaias van de Velde
Esaias van de Velde
Esaias van de Velde was a Dutch landscape painter.-Biography:Born in Amsterdam, where his Flemish father Hans had fled as a Protestant in 1585, he probably studied under his father and Gillis van Coninxloo, a landscape painter from Antwerp and a follower of Pieter Brueghel the Elder...

 were important painters early in the period. Buytewech painted "merry companies" of finely dressed young people, with moralistic significance lurking in the detail. Van de Velde was also important as a landscapist, whose scenes included unglamorous figures very different from those in his genre paintings, typically set at garden parties in country houses. Hals was principally a portraitist, but also painted genre figures of a portrait size early in his career. A stay in Haarlem by the Flemish master of peasant tavern scenes Adriaen Brouwer
Adriaen Brouwer
Adriaen Brouwer was a Flemish genre painter active in Flanders and the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century.-Biography:...

, from 1625 or 1626 gave Adriaen van Ostade
Adriaen van Ostade
Adriaen van Ostade was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre works.-Life:...

 his lifelong subject, though he often took a more sentimental approach. Before Brouwer, peasants had normally been depicted outdoors; he usually shows them in a plain and dim interior, though van Ostade's sometimes occupy ostentatiously decrepit farmhouses of enormous size.
Van Ostade was as likely to paint a single figure as a group, as were the Utrecht Caravaggisti in their genre works, and the single figure, or small groups of two or three became increasingly common, especially those including women and children. The most notable woman artist of the period, Judith Leyster
Judith Leyster
Judith Jans Leyster was a Dutch Golden Age painter. She was one of three significant women artists in Dutch Golden Age painting; the other two, Rachel Ruysch and Maria van Oosterwijk, were specialized painters of flower still-lifes, while Leyster painted genre works, a few portraits, and a...

 (1609–1660), specialized in these, before her husband, Jan Miense Molenaer
Jan Miense Molenaer
Jan Miense Molenaer , was a Dutch Golden Age genre painter whose style was a precursor to Jan Steen's work during Dutch Golden Age painting. He shared a studio with his wife, Judith Leyster, also a genre painter, as well as a portraitist and painter of still-life...

, prevailed on her to give up painting. The Leiden school of fijnschilder
Fijnschilder
The Fijnschilders , also called the Leiden Fijnschilders , were Dutch Golden Age painters who, from about 1630 to 1710, strove to create as natural a reproduction of reality as possible in their meticulously executed, often small-scale works.Although in the seventeenth century, as in modern Dutch,...

("fine painters") were renowned for small and highly finished paintings, many of this type. Leading artists included Gerard Dou
Gerard Dou
Gerrit Dou , also known as Gerard and Douw or Dow, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, whose small, highly-polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders...

, Gabriel Metsu
Gabriel Metsu
Gabriël Metsu was a Dutch painter of history paintings, genre works and portraits.- Life :Metsu was the son of the Flemish painter Jacques Metsu , who lived most of his days at Leiden, and Jacomijntje Garniers, his third wife, whom he married in 1625. Jacomijntje was the widow of a painter with...

, Frans van Mieris the Elder, and later his son Willem van Mieris
Willem van Mieris
Willem van Mieris was a Dutch painter. He was a son of Frans van Mieris sr. and brother of Jan van Mieris....

, Godfried Schalcken
Godfried Schalcken
Godfried Schalcken or Gottfried Schalken , was a Dutch genre and portrait painter. He was noted for his mastery in reproducing the effect of candlelight, and painted in the exquisite and highly polished manner of the Leiden fijnschilders.- Life and work :Godfried Schalcken was born in 1643 at...

, and Adriaen van der Werff
Adriaen van der Werff
Adriaen van der Werff was an accomplished Dutch painter of portraits and erotic, devotional and mythological scenes. His brother, Pieter van der Werff , was his principal pupil and assistant.-Life:...

.

This later generation, whose work now seems over-refined compared to their predecessors, also painted portraits and histories, and were the most highly regarded and rewarded Dutch painters by the end of the period, whose works were sought after all over Europe. Genre paintings reflected the increasing prosperity of Dutch society, and settings grew steadily more comfortable, opulent and carefully depicted as the century progressed. Artists not part of the Leiden group whose common subjects also were more intimate genre groups included Nicolaes Maes
Nicolaes Maes
Nicolaes Maes, also known as Nicolaes Maas was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre and portraits.-Biography:...

, Gerard ter Borch
Gerard ter Borch
Gerard ter Borch was a Dutch genre painter, who lived in the Dutch Golden Age.-Biography:Gerard ter Borch was born in December 1617 in Zwolle in the province of Overijssel in the Dutch Republic....

 and Pieter de Hooch
Pieter de Hooch
Pieter de Hooch was a genre painter during the Dutch Golden Age. He was a contemporary of Dutch Master Jan Vermeer, with whom his work shared themes and style.-Biography:...

, whose interest in light in interior scenes was shared with Jan Vermeer, long a very obscure figure, but now the most highly regarded genre painter of all.

Landscapes and cityscapes


Landscape painting
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

 was a major genre in the 17th century. Flemish landscapes (particularly from Antwerp
Antwerp (province)
Antwerp is the northernmost province both of the Flemish Region, also called Flanders, and of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and the Belgian provinces of Limburg, Flemish Brabant and East Flanders. Its capital is Antwerp which comprises the Port of Antwerp...

) of the 16th century first served as an example. These had been not particularly realistic, having been painted mostly in the studio, partly from imagination, and often still using the semi-aerial view from above typical of earlier Netherlandish landscape painting in the tradition of Joachim Patinir
Joachim Patinir
Joachim Patinir, also called de Patiner , was a Flemish Northern Renaissance history and landscape painter from the area of modern Wallonia...

, Herri met de Bles
Herri met de Bles
Herri met de Bles was a Flemish Northern Renaissance and Mannerist landscape painter...

 and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. A more realistic Dutch landscape style developed, seen from ground level, often based on drawings made outdoors, with lower horizons which made it possible to emphasize the often impressive cloud formations that were (and are) so typical in the climate of the region, and which cast a particular light. Favourite subjects were the dunes along the western sea coast, rivers with their broad adjoining meadows where cattle grazed, often with the silhouette of a city in the distance. Winter landscapes with frozen canals and creeks also abounded. The sea was a favourite topic as well since the Low Countries depended on it for trade, battled with it for new land, and battled on it with competing nations.

Important early figures in the move to realism were Esaias van de Velde
Esaias van de Velde
Esaias van de Velde was a Dutch landscape painter.-Biography:Born in Amsterdam, where his Flemish father Hans had fled as a Protestant in 1585, he probably studied under his father and Gillis van Coninxloo, a landscape painter from Antwerp and a follower of Pieter Brueghel the Elder...

 (1587–1630) and Hendrick Avercamp
Hendrick Avercamp
Hendrick Avercamp was a Dutch painter.Avercamp was born in Amsterdam, where he studied with the Danish-born portrait painter Pieter Isaacks , and perhaps also with David Vinckboons. In 1608 he moved from Amsterdam to Kampen in the province of Overijssel...

 (1585–1634), both also mentioned above as genre painters – in Avercamp's case the same paintings deserve mention in each category. From the late 1620s the "tonal phase" of landscape painting started, as artists softened or blurred their outlines, and concentrated on an atmospheric effect, with great prominence given to the sky, and human figures usually either absent or small and distant. Compositions based on a diagonal across the picture space became popular, and water often featured. The leading artists were Jan van Goyen (1596–1656), Salomon van Ruysdael (1602–1670), Pieter de Molyn (1595–1661), and in marine painting Simon de Vlieger
Simon de Vlieger
Simon de Vlieger was a Dutch designer, draughtsman, and painter, most famous for his marine paintings.-Life:...

 (1601–1653), with a host of minor figures – a recent study lists over 75 artists who worked in van Goyen's manner for at least a period, including Cuyp.
From the 1650s the "classical phase" began, retaining the atmospheric quality, but with more expressive compositions and stronger contrasts of light and colour. Compositions are often anchored by a single "heroic tree", windmill or tower, or ship in marine works. The leading artist was Jacob van Ruisdael (1628–1682), who produced a great quantity and variety of work, using every typical Dutch subject except the Italianate landscape (below); instead he produced "Nordic" landscapes of dark and dramatic mountain pine forests with rushing torrents and waterfalls. His pupil was Meindert Hobbema
Meindert Hobbema
Meindert Hobbema , was a landscape painter of the Dutch school.-Life:The facts of his life are somewhat obscure. His chronology and signed pictures substantially contradict each other...

 (1638–1709), best known for his atypical Avenue at Middelharnis (1689, London), a departure from his usual scenes of watermills and roads through woods. Two other artists with more personal styles, whose best work included larger pictures (up to a metre or more across), were Aelbert Cuyp
Aelbert Cuyp
Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz...

 (1620–1691) and Philips Koninck (1619–1688). Cuyp took golden Italian light and used it in evening scenes with a group of figures in the foreground and behind them a river and wide landscape. Koninck's best works are panoramic views, as from a hill, over wide flat farmlands, with a huge sky.

A different type of landscape, produced throughout the tonal and classical phases, was the romantic Italianate landscape, typically in more mountainous settings than are found in the Netherlands, with golden light, and sometimes picturesque Mediterranean staffage
Staffage
In painting, staffage, pronounced "staffarge" as in French, are the human and animal figures depicted in a scene, especially a landscape, that are not the primary subject matter of the work. Before the adoption of the word into the visual arts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,...

 and ruins. Not all the artists who specialized in these had visited Italy. Jan Both (d. 1652), who had been to Rome and worked with Claude Lorrain
Claude Lorrain
Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French Claude Gellée, , dit le Lorrain) Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French...

, was a leading developer of the sub-genre, which influenced the work of many painters of landscapes with Dutch settings, such as Aelbert Cuyp. Other artists who consistently worked in the style were Nicolaes Berchem (1620–1683) and Adam Pijnacker. Italianate landscapes were popular as prints, and more paintings by Berchem were reproduced in engravings during the period itself than those of any other artist.

A number of other artists do not fit in any of these groups, above all Rembrandt, whose relatively few painted landscapes show various influences, including some from Hercules Seghers
Hercules Seghers
Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers or Segers was a Dutch painter and printmaker of the Dutch Golden Age. Segers is in fact the more common form in contemporary documents, and was used by the painter himself...

 (c.1589 – c.1638); his very rare large mountain valley landscapes were a very personal development of 16th-century styles. Aert van der Neer (d. 1677) painted very small scenes of rivers at night or under ice and snow.

Landscapes with animals in the foreground were a distinct sub-type, and were painted by Cuyp, Paulus Potter
Paulus Potter
Paulus Potter was a Dutch painter, specialized in animals in landscapes, usually with a low point of view. Before Potter died of tuberculosis, 28-years old, he succeeded in producing about a hundred paintings, working continuously.-Life:Few details are known of Potter's life...

 (1625–1654), Adriaen van de Velde (1636–1672) and Karel Dujardin
Karel Dujardin
Karel Dujardin was a Dutch painter.-Biography:Karel Dujardin was a Dutch painter and etcher, born in Amsterdam in 1622. Although active as a portrait and history painter, he is best known for his Italianate landscapes. Typical of his landscape paintings is Farm Animals in the Shade of a Tree...

 (1626–1678, farm animals), with Philips Wouwerman painting horses and riders in various settings. The cow was a symbol of prosperity to the Dutch, hitherto overlooked in art, and apart from the horse by far the most commonly shown animal; goats were used to indicate Italy. Potter's The Young Bull is an enormous and famous portrait which Napoleon took to Paris (it later returned) though livestock analysts have noted from the depiction of the various parts of the anatomy that it appears to be a composite of studies of six different animals of widely different ages.
Architecture also fascinated the Dutch, churches in particular. At the start of the period the main tradition was of fanciful palaces and city views of invented Northern Mannerist architecture, which Flemish painting continued to develop, and in Holland was represented by Dirck van Delen. A greater realism began to appear and the exteriors and interiors of actual buildings were reproduced, though not always faithfully. During the century understanding of the proper rendering of perspective grew and were enthusiastically applied. Several artists specialized in church interiors. Pieter Jansz Saenredam
Pieter Jansz Saenredam
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam was a painter of the Dutch Golden Age, known for his distinctive paintings of whitewashed church interiors.-Biography:...

, whose father Jan Saenredam
Jan Saenredam
Jan Pieterszoon Saenredam , was a Dutch Northern Mannerist painter, printmaker in engraving, and cartographer, and father of the painter of church interiors, Pieter Jansz Saenredam...

 engraved sensuous nude Mannerist goddesses, painted unpeopled views of now whitewashed Gothic city churches. His emphasis on even light and geometry, with little depiction of surface textures, is brought out by comparing his works with those of Emanuel de Witte
Emanuel de Witte
Emanuel de Witte was a Dutch perspective painter. In contrast to Pieter Jansz Saenredam, who emphasized architectural accuracy, De Witte was more concerned with the atmosphere of his interiors. Though few in number, de Witte also produced genre paintings.-Life:De Witte was born in Alkmaar and...

, who left in the people, uneven floors, contrasts of light and such clutter of church furniture as remained in Calvinist churches, all usually ignored by Saenredam. Gerard Houckgeest
Gerard Houckgeest
Gerard Houckgeest was a Dutch Golden Age painter of architectural scenes and church interiors.-Biography:...

, followed by van Witte and Hendrick van Vliet, had supplemented the traditional view along a main axis of the church with diagonal views that added drama and interest. Gerrit Berckheyde specialized in lightly populated views of main city streets, squares, and major public buildings; Jan van der Heyden
Jan van der Heyden
Jan van der Heyden was a Dutch Baroque-era painter, draughtsman, printmaker, a mennonite and inventor who significantly contributed to contemporary firefighting. He improved the fire hose in 1672, with his brother Nicolaes, who was a hydraulic engineer...

 preferred more intimate scenes of quieter Amsterdam streets, often with trees and canals. These were real views, but he did not hesitate to adjust them for compositional effect.

Maritime painting


The Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 relied on trade by sea for its exceptional wealth, had naval wars with Britain and other nations during the period, and was criss-crossed by rivers and canals. It is therefore no surprise that the genre of maritime painting
Marine art
Marine art or maritime art is any form of figurative art that portrays or draws its main inspiration from the sea. Maritime painting is a genre that depicts ships and the sea—a genre particularly strong from the 17th to 19th centuries...

 was enormously popular, and taken to new heights in the period by Dutch artists; as with landscapes, the move from the artificial elevated view typical of earlier marine painting was a crucial step. Pictures of sea battles told the stories of a Dutch navy at the peak of its glory, though today it is usually the more tranquil scenes that are highly estimated.

More often than not, even small ships fly the Dutch tricolour, and many vessels can be identified as naval or one of the many other government ships. Many pictures included some land, with a beach or harbour viewpoint, or a view across an estuary. Other artists specialized in river scenes, from the small pictures of Salomon van Ruysdael with little boats and reed-banks to the large Italianate landscapes of Aelbert Cuyp
Aelbert Cuyp
Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz...

, where the sun is usually setting over a wide river. The genre naturally shares much with landscape painting, and in developing the depiction of the sky the two went together; many landscape artists also painted beach and river scenes. Artists included Jan Porcellis
Jan Porcellis
Jan Porcellis was a Dutch marine artist.Porcellis was born in Ghent. He was the father of the marine artist Julius Porcellis , and is generally agreed to be the more fluent artist, particularly in his sense of space and his tonal palette...

, Simon de Vlieger
Simon de Vlieger
Simon de Vlieger was a Dutch designer, draughtsman, and painter, most famous for his marine paintings.-Life:...

, Jan van de Cappelle
Jan van de Cappelle
Jan van de Cappelle was a Dutch Golden Age painter of seascapes and winter landscapes, also notable as an industrialist and art collector. He is "now considered the outstanding marine painter of 17th century Holland"...

, Hendrick Dubbels and Abraham Storck
Abraham Storck
Abraham Storck , was a Dutch landscape and maritime painter of the Baroque era....

. Willem van de Velde the Elder
Willem van de Velde the Elder
Willem van de Velde the Elder was a Dutch Golden Age seascape painter.-Biographical Outline:Willem van de Velde, known as the Elder, a marine draughtsman and painter, was born in Leiden, the son of a Flemish skipper, Willem Willemsz. van de Velde, and is commonly said to have been bred to the sea...

 and his son
Willem van de Velde the Younger
Willem van de Velde the Younger was a Dutch marine painter.-Biography:Willem van de Velde was baptised on 18 December 1633 in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic....

 are the leading masters of the later decades, tending, as at the beginning of the century, to make the ship the subject, whereas in tonal works of earlier decades the emphasis had been on the sea and the weather. They left for London in 1672, leaving the master of heavy seas, the German-born Ludolf Bakhuizen, as the leading artist.

Still lifes


Still lifes were a great opportunity to display skill in painting textures and surfaces in great detail and with realistic light effects. Food of all kinds laid out on a table, silver cutlery, intricate patterns and subtle folds in table cloths and flowers all challenged painters.

Several types of subject were recognised: banketje were "banquet pieces", ontbijtjes simpler "breakfast pieces". Virtually all still lifes had a moralistic message, usually concerning the brevity of life – this is known as the vanitas
Vanitas
In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic work of art especially associated with Northern European still life painting in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries, though also common in other places and periods. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and loosely translated...

 theme – implicit even in the absence of an obvious symbol like a skull, or less obvious one such as a half-peeled lemon (like life, sweet in appearance but bitter to taste). Flowers wilt and food decays, and silver is of no use to the soul. Nevertheless, the force of this message seems less powerful in the more elaborate pieces of the second half of the century.
Initially the objects shown were nearly always mundane, but from the mid-century the pronkstilleven ("ostentatious still-life"), showing expensive and exotic objects, became more popular. The early realist, tonal and classical phases of landscape painting had counterparts in still life painting. Willem Claeszoon Heda
Willem Claeszoon Heda
Willem Claeszoon Heda was one of the earliest Dutch Golden Age artists devoted exclusively to the painting of still lifes.-Biography:Heda was born in Haarlem,...

 (1595–c. 1680) and Willem Kalf
Willem Kalf
- Life and work :Willem Kalf was born in Rotterdam, in 1619. He was previously thought to have been born in 1622, but H. E. van Gelder’s important archival research has established the painter’s correct place and date of birth. Kalf was born into a prosperous patrician family in Rotterdam, where...

 (1619–1693) led the change to the pronkstilleven, while Pieter Claesz
Pieter Claesz
Pieter Claesz was a Dutch Golden Age still life painter.-Biography:He was born in Berchem, Belgium, near Antwerp, where he became a member of the Guild of St. Luke in 1620. He moved to Haarlem in 1621, where his son, the landscape painter Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem was born...

 (d. 1660) preferred to paint simpler "ontbijt" ("breakfast pieces"), or explicit vanitas pieces. In all these painters, colours are often very muted, with browns dominating, especially in the middle of the century. This is less true of the works of Jan Davidszoon de Heem
Jan Davidszoon de Heem
Jan Davidsz. de Heem or in-full Jan Davidszoon de Heem, also called Johannes de Heem or Johannes van Antwerpen , was a still life painter who was active in Utrecht and Antwerp...

 (1606–1684), an important figure who spent much of his career based over the border in Antwerp. Here his displays began to sprawl sideways to form wide oblong pictures, unusual in the north, although Heda sometimes painted taller vertical compositions. Still life painters were especially prone to form dynasties, it seems: there were many de Heems and Bosschaerts, Heda's son continued in his father's style, and Claesz was the father of Nicholaes Berchem.

Flower paintings formed a sub-group with its own specialists, and were occasionally the speciality of the few women artists, such as Maria van Oosterwyck and Rachel Ruysch
Rachel Ruysch
Rachel Ruysch was a Dutch artist who specialized in still-life paintings of flowers, one of only three significant women artists in Dutch Golden Age painting, of whom Maria van Oosterwijk was also a flower painter, and Judith Leyster mainly not .She was born in The...

; the Dutch also led the world in botanical and other scientific drawings, prints and book illustrations. Despite the intense realism of individual flowers, paintings were composed from individual studies or even book illustrations, and blooms from very different seasons were routinely included in the same composition, and the same flowers reappear in different works, just as pieces of tableware do. There was also a fundamental unreality in that bouquets of flowers in vases were not in fact at all common in houses at the time – even the very rich displayed flowers one by one in delftware
Delftware
Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century....

 tulip-holder
Tulipiere
A tulipiere or tulip-holder is an ornate flower-holder that is usually made of hand-crafted pottery, classically delftware. They are typically constructed to accommodate one single flower stem per spout with a larger water reservoir base.- History :...

s.
The Dutch tradition was largely begun by Ambrosius Bosschaert
Ambrosius Bosschaert
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder was a still life painter of the Dutch Golden Age.-Biography:He was born in Antwerp, where he started his career, but he spent most of it in Middelburg , where he moved with his family because of the threat of religious persecution...

 (1573–1621), a Flemish-born flower painter who had settled in the north by the beginning of the period, and founded a dynasty. His brother-in-law Balthasar van der Ast
Balthasar van der Ast
Balthasar van der Ast was a Dutch Golden Age painter who specialized in still lifes of flowers and fruit, as well as painting a number of remarkable shell still lifes; he is considered to be a pioneer in the genre of shell painting. His still lifes often contain insects and lizards...

 (d. 1657) pioneered still lifes of shells, as well as painting flowers. These early works were relatively brightly lit, with the bouquets of flowers arranged in a relatively simple way. From the mid-century arrangements that can fairly be called Baroque, usually against a dark background, became more popular, exemplified by the works of Willem van Aelst
Willem van Aelst
Willem van Aelst was a Dutch artist who specialized in still-life painting with flowers or game.-Biography:...

 (1627–1683).

Painters from Leiden, The Hague, and Amsterdam particularly excelled in the genre. Dead game, and birds painted live but studied from the dead, were another sub-genre, as were dead fish, a staple of the Dutch diet – Abraham van Beijeren did many of these. The Dutch were less given to the Flemish style of combining large still life elements with other types of painting – they would have been considered prideful in portraits – and the Flemish habit of specialist painters collaborating on the different elements in the same work. But this sometimes did happen – Philips Wouwerman was occasionally used to add men and horses to turn a landscape into a hunting or skirmish scene, Berchem or Adriaen van de Velde to add people or farm animals.

Foreign lands



Karel van Mander's Schilderboeck was meant not only as a list of biographies, but also a source of advice for young artists. It quickly became a classic standard work for generations of young Dutch and Flemish artists in the seventeenth century. The book advised artists to travel and see the sights of Florence and Rome, and after 1604 many did so. However, it is noticeable that the most important Dutch artists in all fields, figures such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael, and others, had not made the voyage.

Many Dutch (and Flemish) painters worked abroad or exported their work; printmaking
Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

 was also an important export market, by which Rembrandt became known across Europe. The Dutch Gift
Dutch Gift
The Dutch Gift of 1660 was a collection of 28 mostly Italian Renaissance paintings and 12 classical sculptures, along with a yacht, the Mary, and furniture, which was presented to King Charles II of England by the States-General of the Netherlands in 1660...

 to Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 was a diplomatic gift which included four contemporary Dutch paintings. English painting was heavily reliant on Dutch painters, with Sir Peter Lely
Peter Lely
Sir Peter Lely was a painter of Dutch origin, whose career was nearly all spent in England, where he became the dominant portrait painter to the court.-Life:...

 followed by Sir Godfrey Kneller
Godfrey Kneller
Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1st Baronet was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to British monarchs from Charles II to George I...

, developing the English portrait style established by the Flemish Anthony van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

 before the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. The marine painters van der Velde, father
Willem van de Velde the Elder
Willem van de Velde the Elder was a Dutch Golden Age seascape painter.-Biographical Outline:Willem van de Velde, known as the Elder, a marine draughtsman and painter, was born in Leiden, the son of a Flemish skipper, Willem Willemsz. van de Velde, and is commonly said to have been bred to the sea...

 and son
Willem van de Velde the Younger
Willem van de Velde the Younger was a Dutch marine painter.-Biography:Willem van de Velde was baptised on 18 December 1633 in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic....

, were among several artists who left Holland at the French invasion of 1672, which brought a collapse in the art market. They also moved to London, and the beginnings of English landscape painting were established by several less distinguished Dutch painters, such as Hendrick Danckerts
Hendrick Danckerts
Hendrick Danckerts was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter and engraver.-Biography:Danckerts was born in The Hague, where he learned his trade and remained until 1653. He visited England for the first time in 1650. In 1653 he went to Italy, where he stayed for five years. He then moved to England...

. The Bamboccianti
Bamboccianti
The Bamboccianti were genre painters active in Rome from about 1625 until the end of the seventeenth century. Most were Dutch and Flemish artists who brought existing traditions of depicting peasant subjects from sixteenth-century Netherlandish art with them to Italy, and generally created small...

 were a colony of Dutch artists who introduced the genre scene to Italy. Jan Weenix
Jan Weenix
Jan Weenix or Joannis Wenix was a Dutch painter. He was trained by his father, Jan Baptist Weenix, together with his cousin Melchior d'Hondecoeter. Like his father, he devoted himself to a variety of subjects, but his fame is chiefly due to his paintings of dead game and of hunting scenes...

 and Melchior d'Hondecoeter
Melchior d'Hondecoeter
Melchior d'Hondecoeter , Dutch animalier painter, was born in Utrecht and died in Amsterdam. After the start of his career, he painted virtually exclusively bird subjects, usually exotic or game, in park-like landscapes...

 specialized in game and birds, dead or alive, and were in demand for country house and shooting-lodge overdoor
Overdoor
An "overdoor" is a painting, bas-relief or decorative panel, generally in a horizontal format, that is set, typically within ornamental mouldings, over a door, or was originally intended for this purpose.The overdoor is usually architectural in form, but may take the form of a cartouche in Rococo...

s across Northern Europe. Frans Post
Frans Post
Frans Janszoon Post was a Dutch painter. He was the first European artist to paint landscapes of America. In 1636 he traveled to Dutch Brazil at the invitation of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen.- Biography :...

, a landscapist, and Albert Eckhout
Albert Eckhout
Albert Eckhout was a Dutch portrait and still life painter.Eckhout was among the first European artists to paint scenes from the New World. In 1636, he traveled to Dutch Brazil, invited by count John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen. There, he painted portraits of natives, slaves and mulattos...

, a still life painter who also turned his hand to native figures, were sent to the brief-lived Dutch Brazil
Dutch Brazil
Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654...

; the much more significant Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 were covered much less well artistically.

Subsequent reputation


The enormous success of 17th-century Dutch painting overpowered the work of subsequent generations, and no Dutch painter of the 18th century—nor, arguably, a 19th-century one before Van Gogh—is well known outside the Netherlands. Already by the end of the period artists were complaining that buyers were more interested in dead than living artists.

If only because of the enormous quantities produced, Dutch Golden Age painting has always formed a significant part of collections of Old Master
Old Master
"Old Master" is a term for a European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print made by an artist in the same period...

 paintings, itself a term invented in the 18th century to describe Dutch Golden Age artists. Taking only Wouwerman paintings in old royal collections, there are more than 60 in Dresden
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden features major works of art. It is located in the gallery wing of the Zwinger....

 and over 50 in the Hermitage
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

. But the reputation of the period has shown many changes and shifts of emphasis. One nearly constant factor has been admiration for Rembrandt, especially since the Romantic period. Other artists have shown drastic shifts in critical fortune and market price; at the end of the period some of the active Leiden fijnschilders had enormous reputations, but since the mid-19th century realist works in various genres have been far more appreciated. Vermeer was rescued from near-total obscurity in the 19th century, by which time several of his works had been re-attributed to others. However the fact that so many of his works were already in major collections, often attributed to other artists, demonstrates that the quality of individual paintings was recognised even if his collective oeuvre was unknown. Other artists have continued to be rescued from the mass of little known painters: the late and very simple still lifes of Adriaen Coorte
Adriaen Coorte
Adriaen Coorte was a Dutch Golden Age painter of still lifes, who signed works between 1683 and 1707. He painted small and unpretentious still lifes in a style more typical of the first half of the century, and was "one of the last practitioners of this intimate category".-Biography:Very little is...

 in the 1950s, and the landscapists Jacobus Mancaden and Frans Post
Frans Post
Frans Janszoon Post was a Dutch painter. He was the first European artist to paint landscapes of America. In 1636 he traveled to Dutch Brazil at the invitation of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen.- Biography :...

 earlier in the century.
Genre paintings were long popular, but little-regarded. Sir Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA was an influential 18th-century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy...

, the English leader of 18th-century academic art
Academic art
Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism,...

, made several revealing comments on Dutch art. He was impressed by the quality of Vermeer's Milkmaid (illustrated at the start of this article), and the liveliness of Hals' portraits, regretting he lacked the "patience" to finish them properly, and lamented that Steen had not been born in Italy and formed by the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

, so that his talent could have been put to better use. By Reynold's time the moralist aspect of genre painting was no longer understood, even in the Netherlands; the famous example is the so-called Paternal Admonition
The Gallant Conversation
The Gallant Conversation is an oil-on-canvas painting from circa 1654 by Gerard ter Borch . A late 18th century French print of the work is titled The Paternal Admonition, apparently believing it showed a father reprimanding his daughter, but modern art historians see it as a conversation between...

, as it was then known, by Gerard ter Borch
Gerard ter Borch
Gerard ter Borch was a Dutch genre painter, who lived in the Dutch Golden Age.-Biography:Gerard ter Borch was born in December 1617 in Zwolle in the province of Overijssel in the Dutch Republic....

. This was praised by Goethe and others for the delicacy of its depiction of a father reprimanding his daughter. In fact to most (but not all) modern scholars it is a proposition scene in a brothel – there are two versions (Berlin & Amsterdam) and it is unclear whether a "tell-tale coin" in the man's hand has been removed or overpainted in either.

In the second half of the 18th century, the down to earth realism of Dutch painting was a "Whig taste" in England, and in France associated with Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 and aspirations for political reform. In the 19th century, with a near-universal respect for realism, and the final decline of the hierarchy of genres, contemporary painters began to borrow from genre painters both their realism and their use of objects for narrative purposes, and paint similar subjects themselves, with all the genres the Dutch had pioneered appearing on far larger canvases (still lifes excepted).

In landscape painting, the Italianate artists were the most influential and highly regarded in the 18th century, but John Constable
John Constable
John Constable was an English Romantic painter. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as "Constable Country"—which he invested with an intensity of affection...

 was among those Romantics who denounced them for artificiality, preferring the tonal and classical artists. In fact both groups remained influential and popular in the 19th century.

Further reading

  • Alpers, Svetlana
    Svetlana Alpers
    Svetlana Leontief Alpers is an American artist, art historian and critic. She is a university professor and a consultant to both National Public Radio and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her father was Wassily Leontief, a Nobel laureate in...

    . The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983

External links