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Peasants Merrymaking out of Doors©

The main artistic centres of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century were Haarlem, Amsterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague, all of which lay within a small area the size of the modern-day Scottish Borders. The artists represented here were based in these cities, but travelled throughout the countryside for inspiration.

The Dutch Republic, which gained independence from the Spanish-ruled Southern Netherlands in 1648, was physically expanding, with large areas being reclaimed from the sea. The new land was drained, and either built on or used for farming. Likewise, the population was growing, with that of Amsterdam doubling from 100,000 to 200,000 between 1625 and 1650. Landscape paintings seem to celebrate this expansion and the prosperity of the newly-formed country.

The landscapes in this opening section present the interaction of figures with their surroundings. The use of eye-level perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is walking through the land and meeting the people who work, play and travel within these often idyllic settings.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.