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Detail from Vermeer's Music Lesson
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Fine Painting

The painter of the Dutch Golden Age most admired at the time (and throughout the next century) was not Rembrandt or Vermeer but Gerrit Dou. Dou founded the school of ‘Leiden Fine-Painters’, to which Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris and Godfried Schalcken belonged and which influenced almost every artist in this gallery. ‘Fine painting’ means the depiction of fine surfaces using rich colours and a highly detailed technique. The status of this type of painting rose to match the stuffs it depicted with such tactile realism. Glossy silks, heavy tapestries and soft furs were the speciality of Gerard ter Borch. Every artist here painted convincing furniture, musical instruments, pewter and glass-ware. Fine painters also showed their skill by filling modest interiors, painted on a small scale, with an astonishing quantity of things.

Dou was a pupil of Rembrandt and learned to paint natural light, usually falling from a window in the left foreground of the composition, so that the distant forms sink into shadow. Ter Borch and Nicolaes Maes use a similar front-lit scheme, whereby near is light and far is dark.



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