History works in cycles: there are ups and downs, moments of cultural climax, followed by darker periods of decadence and retreat. Art follows a similar pattern and the so-called Dutch Golden Age is precisely such a time when art reached its peak. Thanks to the various social, economic and political factors, this glorious period spanned the whole of XVII century and allowed the emergence of arguably the greatest painters the world had ever seen.
The Golden Age of Dutch Painting
During that time, when art was unhindered by the influence of the church and the role of the nobility was diminished, the artist’s of the Old Masters from the Dutch Golden Age were at liberty to choose their subjects according to their tastes and inclinations. Among the most popular genres were still-life, portraits and scenes of everyday life and Dutch masters performed them with much flair and sympathy for everything they depicted. Although the realistic approach was mostly employed, their wonderful paintings also abound with allegory and hidden symbols. Even today there are still some we haven’t fully deciphered.
The Big Three
A fascinating thing about this period is the sheer quantity of great artists. Almost every important city had its thriving artistic community and its distinctive school, so there are myriad of painters worth mentioning. However, most experts agree that greatest of them all were Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals and Vermeer van Delft. Hals was a keen and expressive portraitist, Vermeer was famous for genre scenes and vistas of his hometown, and Rembrandt was capable of painting with striking potency and compassion. If if you want to find out more about these Dutch painters, Look for an Old Masters here.