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Chapter 3: Painting in the Dutch Golden Age

The Dutch Golden Age roughly spanned the whole of the 17th century. The importance of different kinds of painting in this age was hierarchical: Baroque painting took prominence followed by history painting and that of religious subjects. The next was portrait painting followed by genre painting or scenes of everyday life and landscape and cityscape. Still life paintings were considered the least important of the categories of paintings. It is also important to remember paintings often combined these elements.

Dutch Baroque Painters

During the brief period of Spanish Catholic rule of the Southern regions of the Netherlands, a heavily Baroque era of painting developed producing some of the Netherland’s most famous painters. The centre of this artistic activity was Antwerp, although the style also flourished in Ghent and Brussels, the home of the court.

The foundations for the Baroque can be seen in the work of the late Mannerist painters such as Otto van Veen, Adam van Noort and Marten de Vos. It is the work of Peter Paul Rubens that demonstrates the full effects of the Baroque style and made him the most famous painter of this period. Rubens, who had spend eight years studying in Italy, set up an important studio in Antwerp, schooling Flemish artists in the methods of the Baroque and as such influencing the direction of Flemish art.

Pieter Pauwel Rubens, Adoration of the Magi1626-29 Web Gallery of Art, Musée du Louvre, Paris


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