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Johannes Vermeer, A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman, 'The Music Lesson', c.1662-5, RCIN 405346 ©

Dutch artists of the seventeenth century excelled in their depiction of everyday life, from the rumbustious vitality of village taverns and marketplaces, to the quiet domesticity of townhouse interiors and courtyards.

The paintings in this exhibition feature all levels of Dutch society engaged in daily activities such as the preparation of food, eating and drinking, playing games and making music together. While the subject-matter may be ordinary, the artistic mastery is extraordinary. These pictures are astonishing in their illusionism and detail. In many cases, the works carry a deeper meaning or moral messages that would have been familiar to the contemporary viewer.

Ludolf de Jongh (Rotterdam 1616-Hillegersberg 1679)

A formal Garden: three Ladies surprised by a Gentleman

Adriaen van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-Haarlem 1685)

An elderly Couple in an Arbour

Jan Steen (Leiden 1626-Leiden 1679)

A Woman at her Toilet

Gerard ter Borch (Zwolle 1617-Deventer 1681)

A Gentleman pressing a Lady to drink

Adriaen van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-Haarlem 1685)

The Interior of a Peasant's Cottage

Pieter de Hooch (Rotterdam 1629-Amsterdam 1684)

A Courtyard in Delft at Evening: a Woman spinning

Godfried Schalcken (Made 1643-The Hague 1706)

A Family Concert

Godfried Schalcken (Made 1643-The Hague 1706)

The Game of 'Lady, come into the Garden'

Johannes Vermeer (Delft 1632-Delft 1675)

Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman

Hendrick Pot (Haarlem c.1585-Amsterdam 1657)

Lady and Gentleman in an Interior, 'A startling Introduction'

Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629-Amsterdam 1667)

The Cello Player

Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-Amsterdam 1693)

The listening Housewife

Frans van Mieris the Elder (Leiden 1635-Leiden 1681)

A Girl selling Grapes to an old Woman

Willem van Mieris (Leiden 1662-Leiden 1747)

The neglected Lute

Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629-Amsterdam 1667)

Self-Portrait standing at a Window

Pieter de Hooch (Rotterdam 1629-Amsterdam 1684)

Cardplayers in a sunlit Room

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

A Girl chopping Onions

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

The Grocer's Shop

Jan Steen (Leiden 1626-Leiden 1679)

A Twelfth Night Feast: 'The King drinks'

Jan Steen (Leiden 1626-Leiden 1679)

Merrymaking in a Tavern with a Couple dancing

Jan Steen (Leiden 1626-Leiden 1679)

A Village Revel

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

The Young Mother