Skilled seamen and outstanding navigators, the Dutch were dominating maritime international trade. Outlandish bizarre goods were introduced into the life of the Europeans.
The economy was booming, the strong Dutch merchant class was on the rise, promoting luxurious lifestyle. Once strait-laced Dutch interior transformed into the vanity showcase. Decorative art and paintings were not the least on that fair.
Trickle-down economics enabled scores to join collector’s ranks. In addition to well-off merchants skilled laborers became the devoted art collectors.
The growing wealth some what muted the word of God : religious motifs took a back seat, Church was no longer the only and the primary art benefactor. A piece of art, featuring their own family, home, town and country became a primary choice of the art collectors.
Over the course of a century, more than a thousand artists were practicing in the Netherlands, authoring countless artworks. Who were they? Some, as it used to be for centuries, were the sons of painters, continuing the family trade. But as demand for pictures grew, others were attracted to the craft, that provided a living.
Prices for paintings varied in a big way:
While some paintings could be sold for a few guilders, a small scene of everyday life by Gerrit Dou - for 1,000. Pictures were bartered for goods or even mortgage payments. Some painters, like Vermeer might sell just several works per year to a single domestic art collector. Others sold from stock directly out of their studios. Paintings could also be bought from private collectors and art dealers, or more cheaply at auctions or fairs.
The competition encouraged artists to specialize in a certain type of painting, to create their own style, and master their brushwork. Art lovers knew, whom they could buy the best still life, seascape, or genre paintings from.
A striking number of artworks of exceptional quality were produced during the Dutch Golden Age.
The NGA exhibition "Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry" features works by Johannes Vermeer, Gerard Ter Borch, Jan Steen, Gerrit Dou, and other painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Nearly 70 artworks, among which 10 paintings by Vermeer, are still on view at the National Gallery of Art.
Hurry up, if you're in town for another 2 weeks!
This publication is for those art lovers, who's not able to visit Washington DC any time soon.
For viewing original images please follow the link
|The Lacemaker by Johannes Vermeer|
|Woman at the Clavichord by Gerrit Dou|
|A Woman with a Lute by Johannes Vermeer|
|Woman Writing a Letter by Candlelight by Franz van Mieris|
|Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer|
|Young Woman with a Letter by Jan Steen|
|Woman with a Pearl Necklace by Johannes Vermeer|
|Woman at her Toilette by Caspar Netscher|
|Brothel Scene by Frans Van Mieris|
|Young Woman with a Soldier and an Onlooker by Gerard Ter Borch|
|Merry Company by Jacob Ochtervelt|
|The Geographer by Johannes Vermeer|
|Astronomer by Candlelight by Gerrit Dou|
|Woman Asleep by Gerrit Dou|
|The Dropsical Woman by Gerrit Dou|
|Woman Sealing a Letter by Gerard Ter Borch|
|Woman Writing a Letter by Johannes Vermeer|
|Man Writing a Letter by Gabriel Metsu|
|Woman Washing her Hands by Eglon Van Der Neer|
|Woman Scraping Parsnips by Nicolaes Maes|
|Woman Peeling Apples by Gerard Ter Borch|
|Woman feeding a parrot by Frans Van Mieris|
|Woman Weighing Coins by Pieter de Hooch|
|Woman Drinking with Two Men by Pieter de Hooch|
|View of an Interior by Samuel Van Hoogstraten |
|A Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer |