HOLLAND’S GOLDEN AGE REVEALED!
Introduction to the Art of 17th Century Holland
by Jane Choy, Mauritshuis Official Guide
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history roughly spanning the 17th century, in which the Dutch were not only a major world power and leaders in trade and science, but also in art. The paintings produced by Dutch artists are considered some of the greatest works of art in the world. This series of lectures will not only introduce you to the art of this dynamic period but will also talk about the history and culture that brought this art to fruition and give us a deeper understanding the country in which we now live.
The course will be given in five sessions. Each lecture will concentrate on one of five categories of art which were produced: History, Portraits, Genre, Landscape and Still Life, and Architecture. As well as talking about the artists, their subjects, and style, we will explore what caused this explosion of art and why different kinds of paintings became such specialities of the Dutch. We will then set them in their historical and cultural background. Not only the great masters Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals will be discussed but many of the minor masters, as they have come to be called, will also be included. We will see that they are in fact very talented in their own right.
Wednesday, 21 February, 10.00 – 12.00, Intimacies & Intrigues! History Painting
As Tolstoi said: “Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.” This certainly describes the purpose of history paintings which can be defined as a painting in which the human figure plays the main role and subject matter is religious, mythological, historical, literary or allegorical. This category was considered the highest category of art. So many artists aspired to do this such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. In the first lecture we will explore who, how and why these were painted.
Wednesday, 21 March, 10.00 – 12.00, Who’s Who! Portrait Painting.
Wednesday, 4 April, 10.00 – 12.00, Reality Show or Illusion! Genre Painting
Wednesday, 18 April, 10.00-12.00, Mirrors of Reality! Landscape Painting
Wednesday, 2 May, 10.00 – 12.00, Objects of Desire! Still life and Architectural Painting