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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.



Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-Amsterdam 1693)

The listening Housewife

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

A Girl chopping Onions

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

The Young Mother

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

The Grocer's Shop

Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629-Amsterdam 1667)

Self-Portrait standing at a Window

Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629-Amsterdam 1667)

The Cello Player

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

A Girl selling Grapes to an old Woman

Gerard ter Borch (Zwolle 1617-Deventer 1681)

A Gentleman pressing a Lady to drink