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Domestic Bliss? Images of the Family and Home in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Art

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings that give pride of place to the family and the home. He also explains why these images cannot be regarded as faithful visual records of the actual appearance of seventeenth-century residences and the activities that took place within them. One of the defining characteristics of Dutch genre art in the 1650s was a marked increase in images which feature family life, especially the tender relationship between mothers and children, the lively interaction between servants and their mistresses, and the general industrious nature of women in the home. Clearly a market had emerged for domestic themes and artists from the town of Delft, such as Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer, as well as Nicolaes Maes, who worked in Dordrecht, the Leiden painter Gerard Dou, and many others produced works that catered to this new demand.

Keywords: Delft; Dordrecht; Dutch family life; Johannes Vermeer; Leiden painter Gerard Dou; Nicolaes Maes; Pieter de Hooch; Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Art



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