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Themes and Ideas in Dutch Genre Painting

Among the most memorable images of the Dutch Golden Age are the genre paintings by Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries. Their elegant renderings of men and women writing letters, playing music, and tending to their daily rituals possess a humanity and immediacy that feel both relevant and yet timeless. In Depth: Themes and Ideas in Dutch Genre Painting, inspired by the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry (2017–2018), explores some of the qualities that make these images so appealing: the stories behind their subjects, the science behind their production, the ideas underlying these exquisite, enduring images.

To Cite: "In Depth: Themes and Ideas in Dutch Genre Painting," National Gallery of Art, last modified October 19, 2017,

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