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Masters of the Everyday

Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer

Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Quentin Buvelot

 176 pages

The ordinary made extraordinary

Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

Cover of Masters of the Everyday

Cover of Masters of the Everyday ©

Hardback, 289 x 233 mm, 150 colour illustrations 
ISBN 978 1 909741 19 5

French and Dutch rights sold 

During the seventeenth century, Dutch artists were unparalleled in their dedication to depicting ordinary people doing everyday things. Genre painting was the pre-eminent expression of this dedication, offering candid glimpses into the peasant cottages and village courtyards of the Dutch Golden Age, each painting lit with the period’s vibrant colour palette and rich with radiant natural light.

This superb collection focuses on a selection of works of Dutch genre painting from the Royal Collection’s holdings. Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Gerrit Dou, Gabriel Metsu, and Pieter de Hooch are among the masters whose works are finely reproduced here. While the subject matter may be ordinary—the preparation of food, the bustle of a busy market, the enjoyment of taverns and town festivities—the meticulously documented details often allude to a work’s deeper meaning, that would have been familiar to the contemporary viewer.

The book explores these hidden moral messages, as well as the artist’s penchant for clever visual puns.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor is Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures, Royal Collection Trust. 

Quentin Buvelot is the Senior Curator at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague.

Related exhibition
Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer

Presenting 28 masterpieces from the Royal Collection, the exhibition includes works by Gerrit Dou, Gabriel Metsu, Jan Steen and Pieter de Hooch, and Johannes Vermeer's 'A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman'.

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Highlights from the publication

Johannes Vermeer (Delft 1632-Delft 1675)

Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman

Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-Amsterdam 1693)

The listening Housewife

Gerard ter Borch (Zwolle 1617-Deventer 1681)

A Gentleman pressing a Lady to drink

Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613-Leiden 1675)

A Girl chopping Onions

Godfried Schalcken (Made 1643-The Hague 1706)

The Game of 'Lady, come into the Garden'

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

Isack van Ostade (Haarlem 1621-Haarlem 1649)

A Village Fair, with a Church behind

Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606-Amsterdam 1669)

Agatha Bas (1611-1658)