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The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642

The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642

The Golden Age of Dutch Painting

Having admired a number of Dutch paintings last week, leaving the subject is very difficult. In the Fine Arts, I should think it would be difficult to find so many masters living in one area of Europe during a mere hundred years.

Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was active in the early part of the seventeenth century, and he is an accomplished artist and was a fine diplomat.  He was not Dutch, but how does one not mention him?

But let us focus on Holland. Dutch artist Rembrant van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) is usually considered the most prominent artist of the seventeenth century in Holland. However, it is a question of degrees. Johannes Vermeer (1632 – December 1675) is also a Dutch Master. The same is true of Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael (c. 1628 – 14 March 1682), Franz Hals (c. 1582 – 26 August 1666).

Some excelled at portraiture (Vermeer, Hals), others painted landscapes (the Ruisdaels) but Rembrandt was the most eclectic. He painted portraits, the Jewish population of Amsterdam, seascapes, biblical subjects and the very large Night Watch (1642), housed in the Rijksmuseum, in Amtersdam. Vermeer was also a “genre,” painter.  He painted interiors where individuals are going about their everyday activity.

A Young Man in a Large hat, by Frans Hals,  1626/1629

A Young Man in a Large Hat, by Frans Hals, 1626/1629[i]

The Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer, 1632 - 1675

The Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer, 1665

The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstedec. 1670 Oil on canvas, 83 x 101 cm Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, by Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael, c. 1670 

A Backdrop

The above is a mere backdrop or introduction. However, it is quite acceptable. We have identified four Dutch Masters, possibly the most prominent Dutch Masters of the seventeenth century, the Dutch Golden Age. We have linked each of them to subjects they depicted which, by an large, are not religious subjects.

In this regard, a potential gallery of the Dutch Golden Age paintings would contain portraits, seascapes, depiction of Jews in a tolerant Holland, and depictions of rather large groups of people. On the subject of Jews, I should note that the citizens of seventeenth-century Holland were a tolerant society.

As a result, there was considerable emigration to Holland. Not all stayed, but many did, some of whom were artists. Jewish and Mannerist artist Gillis van Coninxloo emigrated to Holland.

I have explored the life and times of several Golden Age Dutch artists, but realize I am now too tired to continue my work. I will have to rest. So I may not post blogs for a few days. However, I will try to catch up with messages and comments.That is very important.

© Micheline Walker
4 December 2012

[i] “Frans Hals”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012

composer: Gabriel Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924)
piece: Sicilienne, for cello & piano, Op. 78
performers: Steven Isserlis & Pascal Devoyon