Painting in the Dutch Golden Age

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Curricular Information

This teaching packet is a project of the National Gallery of Art, department of education publications, and includes:

  • Book: Painting in the Dutch Golden Age: A Profile of the Seventeenth Century
  • Spiral bound Book: Painting in the Dutch Golden Age: Classroom Guide
  • 12 Reproductions
  • 1 Image CD
  • 1 Classroom Guide Illustrations and Supplements on CD

This kit introduces teachers of middle school students and up to seventeenth-century Dutch culture and its early influence in North America. Dutch paintings of the time presumably offer snapshots of what Dutch life was like, but in fact they contained an equal measure of reality and artifice. Dutch artists broke with conventions and took liberties to create images that reflected their republic's socially conservative, yet worldly, aspirations. The results was a vast body of work enormously original in approach and varied in subject matter.

Dutch artists also continued efforts, begun during the Renaissance, to elevate the status of art beyond its associations with lesser trades and to restructure the guild system. Patrons and artists discussed the fine points of composition, technique, and ways in which art engaged the attentions of the viewer. This connoisseurship spurred the founding of specialized art academies and a new "business" of art.