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Michiel Van Musscher (1645–1705): The Wealth of the Golden Age

by Gerhardt, Robert. Francis Quint.
Amsterdam, Museum van Loon,
paperback, pp. 64, col. ill.
Michiel Van Musscher (1645–1705). The Wealth of the Golden Age

By the end of the seventeenth century, Van Musscher had become a successful portraitist. While visiting the capital in 1687, Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin deemed him the very best Amsterdam painter for small portraits. He is noted for having portrayed the exuberant lifestyle of the Dutch elite and the wealth of the Golden Age with great pictorial quality and richness in detail. His portraits are painted in the tradition of Netscher and Van Mieris although it is clear that he had seen and drawn inspiration from Vermeer as well for a few of his own compositions. Among his sitters was Tsar Peter the Great.

In His Milieu: Essays on Netherlandish Art in Memory of John Michael Montias

edited by Amy Golahny, Mia Mochizuki and Lisa

In His Milieu: Essays on Netherlandish Art in Memory of John Michael Montias

Collected in memory of the Vermeer scholar and Yale economist J. Michael Montias, these essays take into account the latest trends in the field and provide new data on a wide range of topics in Netherlandish art. Themes include the reception of paintings and architecture; art collecting as interpreted through inventories and other documents that reveal modes of display; relationships between patrons and painters; recently found or attributed works of art; artists as teachers; and the art market. Taken together, these focused studies offer fresh perspectives on the historical appreciation and evaluation of art. Drawing upon J.M. Montias' contribution to art history, these 32 essays present new analyses, attributions, and documents on Netherlandish art and material culture – including the work of Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, van Eyck and others – by internationally known scholars of art history and the economics of art.

Of particular interest are those essays directly related to Vermeer:

1. Albert Blankert - "The Case of Han van Meegeren's Fake Vermeer 'Supper at Erasmus' Reconsidered"
2. Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato - "Vermeer and the Use of Perspective"
3. Herman Roodenburg - "Visiting Vermeer: Performing Civility"

In the hush of early morning, a dutiful mother butters bread for her young son, who patiently stands at her side. This splendid painting captures a trivial moment in a family's daily routine and makes it almost sacrosanct. "A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy" was executed by the Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch (1629–1684) between 1661 and 1663. The J. Paul Getty Museum's canvas is one of the artist's many pictures depicting women and children engaged in daily activities. This book examines the painting in relation to the artist's life and work, exploring his stylistic development and his complex relationship to other painters in the Dutch Republic. The author places the subject matter of the painting within the broader context of seventeenth-century Dutch concepts of domesticity and child rearing and ties it to social and cultural developments in the Netherlands during the second half of the seventeenth century.

Wayne Franits is professor of fine arts at Syracuse University and a specialist in seventeenth-century Dutch art. He is the author of numerous publications, the most recent being Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Thematic and Stylistic Evolution.

Book review from the Getty website: http://www.getty.edu/bookstore/titles/bread.html

In this impressive and informative work, the artist's origins and home environment are revealed and his paintings are displayed and discussed within the context of time alongside a history of the influences and repercussions of this master's art.

This lavishly illustrated and beautifully bound edition includes reproductions of all of Vermeer's paintings, many of the works of his contemporaries, and documents relating to his life and city, Delft.

In the hands of an award-winning historian, Vermeer's dazzling paintings become windows that reveal how daily life and thought—from Delft to Beijing—were transformed in the seventeenth century, when the world first became global.

"Vermeer's Hat is a deftly eclectic book, in which Timothy Brook uses details drawn from the great painter's work as a series of entry points to the widest circles of world trade and cultural exchange in the seventeenth century. From the epicenter of Delft, Brook takes his readers on a journey that encompasses Chinese porcelain and beaver pelts, global temperatures and firearms, shipwrecked sailors and their companions, silver mines and Manila galleons. It is a book full of surprising pleasures."
—Jonathan Spence, author of The Death of Woman Wang, In Search of Modern China and The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

Still Life and Trade in the Dutch Golden Age

by Julie Berger Hochstrasser
Still Life and Trade in the Dutch Golden Age

The magnificent still life paintings of the Dutch Golden Age depict tables richly laid with an array of products that attest to the vast scope of the Dutch trade network. These striking pictures reveal much more about Dutch society and capitalist culture of the seventeenth century than has been previously understood, says the author of this engaging book. Julie Berger Hochstrasser explores for the first time the significance of various foods and commodities rendered on canvas during the Dutch Republic's phenomenal rise to prosperity.

From domestic cheese to the wines of Europe to exotic commodities like pepper, porcelain, and even slaves imported by the Dutch East and West India Companies, the fruits of global commerce glowed in paintings of the time. Yet an uncomfortable tension exists between these elegant representations of products of trade and the darker aspects of their commodity histories. With penetrating insights, Hochstrasser offers a new and provocative view of Dutch still life paintings.

Time and Transformation brings together a variety of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings and works on paper in a major examination of themes dealing with the transformative effects of time and circumstance. The Dutch were fascinated with this idea and the variety of motifs used to convey it. Included are images of local landscapes with medieval structures left in ruins in the wake of the Spanish wars, depictions of rustic cottages and farmhouses, Dutch Italianate landscapes with Roman ruins, and representations of accidental ruins caused by flood or fire. Non-architectural imagery, such as vanitas still lifes and depictions of ruined trees encourage broader thinking on the meanings and associations of images of the fragmentary. Among the artists included are Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan van Goyen, Abraham Bloemaert, Willem Kalf, Gerard Dou, and Bartholomaus Breenberg.

The paintings covered in this appealing book by Mariët Westermann were intended to not only please, but to serve as a kind of visual catalog of the period. Whether the subject was interior or exterior, the paintings provide an almost photographic record that bring to life the physical surroundings of the Dutch people of the seventeenth century. In doing so, they provide insight into their hearts and souls as well. And Westermann proves to be a capable guide through the era

The artistic culture of the Dutch republic in the seventeenth century has given us some of the most familiar and best-loved examples of European painting. In this fresh and readable account, Westermann describes this art as it was experienced by the people of the period and as it appears to us today. She shows how the history of Dutch art mirrors that of the Republic itself: vigorous, self-governing, and staunchly middle class. The prosperity of Amsterdam, Haarlem and Delft, created and supported such great names as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steer, as well as many lesser-known painters and printmakers. Their works are discussed in the political, economic, religious and domestic contexts in which they were produced and seen. By bringing all this together, Westermann creates a richly detailed picture of Dutch culture at an extraordinary moment.

Senses and Sins: Dutch Painters of Daily Life in the Seventeenth Century

by edited by Jeroen Giltaij
with essays by Alexandra Gaba-Van Dongen, Jeroen Giltaij, Peter Hecht et.al.
Senses and Sins: Dutch Painters of Daily Life in the Seventeenth Century

from publishers website:

Gems of Dutch genre painting, with commentaries by internationally renowned scholars. Elegant ladies in satin robes, maids wearing starched bonnets,and pensive scholars immersed in study-we seem to know more about life and culture in Holland's Golden Age than in any other period. Yet the ordered world of th Dutch burghers is full of inconsistencies. The lady of the house drinks wine in the middle of the day, lap dogs copulate on spotless marble floors, and a rough-hewn farmer grimaces in disgust.

This book presents the diverse themes and meanings of the school of painting that is so inadequately described as "genre." With reference to the featured major works of such masters as Adriaen Brouwer, Adriaen van Ostade, Gerrit Dou, Gerrit ter Borch, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, and Johannes Vermeer, an attempt is made to develop a new definition of the style.

Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution

by Wayne Franits
New Haven/London: Yale University Press
Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution

The appealing genre paintings of great seventeenth-century Dutch artists—Vermeer, Steen, de Hooch, Dou and others—have long enjoyed tremendous popularity. This comprehensive book explores the evolution of genre painting throughout the Dutch Golden Age, beginning in the early 1600s and continuing through the opening years of the next century. Wayne Franits, a well-known scholar of Dutch genre painting, offers a wealth of information about these works as well as about seventeenth-century Dutch culture, its predilections and its prejudices. The author approaches genre paintings from a variety of perspectives, examining their reception among contemporary audiences and setting the works in their political, cultural and economic contexts. The works emerge as distinctly conventional images, Franits shows, as genre artists continually replicated specific styles, motifs and a surprisingly restricted number of themes over the course of several generations. Luxuriously illustrated and with a full representation of the major artists and the cities where genre painting flourished, this book will delight students, scholars and general readers alike.

Both the choice and quality of the illustrations are extraordinary. Anyone even vaguely interested in Dutch genre painting (scenes of daily life) will find this volume enlightening.

Nature and Its Symbols

by Lucia Impelluso
Nature and Its Symbols

Following up on four previous titles explaining mythological and biblical iconography in paintings, the latest in the Getty's superb series does not disappoint. The myriad plants, flowers, fruits, animals (land, flying and aquatic) and "Creatures of the Imagination" that appear in medieval and Renaissance painting all have symbolic meanings; Impelluso devotes chapters to each of those categories, further dividing them by object: everything from quinces, myrtle and hyacinth to snakes, grasshoppers, sphinxes and harpies get their due. Impelluso (Gods and Heroes in Art) identifies their prominent appearances in various masterworks and explains their varying significances. Most of the reproductions are centered on the page, with small blocks of text surrounding them, with unobtrusive lines connecting the text to the actual objects it describes. It works beautifully, making the often ignored, busy backgrounds of many less-discussed works—like Lucas Cranach the Elder's The Virgin Under the Apple Tree and Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine—come alive with meaning.

This ground-breaking book offers the first sustained examination of Dutch seventeenth-century genre painting from a theoretically informed feminist perspective. Other recent works that deal with "images of women" in this field maintain the paradoxical combination of seeing the images as positivist reflections of "life as it was" and as emblems of virtue and vice. These reductionist practices deprive the works of their place in visual culture and complex nature, important frameworks that the book attempts to restore to them. Salomon seeks to expand the possibilities for understanding both familiar and unfamiliar paintings from this period by submitting them to a wide range of new and provocative questions. Paintings and prints from the first half of the century through to the second are analyzed to understand the changing social roles and values attributed to the sexes as they were introduced and reflected in the visual arts.

The book contains two excellent essays about Vermeer: "The Balance of Destiny" and "Vermeer's Women; Sexuality and Civility."

Masters Of Dutch Painting: The Detroit Institute Of Arts (Master Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts)

by George S. Keyes, Susan Donahue Kuretsky, Axel Ruger, Arthur K. Wheelock
Masters Of Dutch Painting: The Detroit Institute Of Arts (Master Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts)

The Detroit Institute of Arts offers a comprehensive look at its renowned seventeenth-century Dutch painting collection in the new book Masters of Dutch Painting, published by D Giles Ltd. in association with the DIA. Over 100 color photographs, accompanied by artist biographies, commentary, and other comprehensive information lead the reader on a fascinating tour of one of the top collections of paintings by Dutch masters in the United States. With 120 color and 145 black and white illustrations and biographical information on more than 100 Dutch artists

from the Waanders website:

Albert Blankert is best known to general readers for his standard book on the life and art of Johannes Vermeer, which has appeared in many editions and languages all over the world. Insiders are equally appreciative of his achievements in devising and mounting numerous large-scale exhibitions and the catalogues to accompany them, not only those of Rembrandt and his pupils, but also, and perhaps most notably, his epoch-making shows of outstanding artists who had hitherto suffered unjust neglect. Italianate landscapists, history painters and classicists.

True connoisseurs relish most of all Blankert's concise, insightful essays suggesting apt solutions to fundamental art historical questions.

Twenty-three of his best pieces of writing have been carefully selected for this book, representing a career that spans four decades. They stand the test of time astonishingly well; where needed, the author has fully updated them for this book. Blankert's work has profoundly influenced the thinking of scholars of Dutch art. Nonetheless, his lucid, jargon-free style of writing is always addressed and attuned to the common sense of the ordinary reader.

Ten of de Jongh's most influential articles on seventeenth-century Dutch painting are brought together in this volume: "Certain objects or motifs often serve a dual function. They operate as concrete, observable things while at the same time doing something totally different, namely expressing an idea, a moral, an intention, a joke or a situation."

Here, lay readers are given an overview of Vermeer's city, Delft, and the painters who depicted it around Vermeer's time. Essays by the National Gallery of Art's Wheelock, who is widely published on Vermeer, and his Dutch colleagues get beyond the surface of the attractive still lifes, city views, and domestic and institutional interiors to give a flavor of life and society in the Dutch Republic. Each of the 35 paintings in the exhibition is represented in an excellent plate and large detail and receives a thorough discussion in light of Dutch society, economy, religion, and so forth. Also included is a complete catalog of Vermeer's works, consisting solely of title, color illustration, and collection, three to a page.

This richly illustrated volume offers a selection of the most beautiful Dutch seventeenth-century paintings from the Lugt Collection. The great connoisseur Frits Lugt (1884–1970) is today primarily recognized as a collector of drawings and prints by Dutch and Flemish masters. Far less is known, however, about his important collection of paintings.

There can be no doubt that Lugt had a taste for the unusual in the oeuvre of famous artists, and that he had a marked preference for landscape paintings. The works—mostly executed in a small format—are not only well preserved but also of exceptional quality, designed to fit perfectly in the intimacy of a home.

Art & Home: Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt

by Mariet Westerman, et al
Art & Home: Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt

The caress of fabrics, the sheen of metal, the brittle luminosity of glass—Dutch genre painters of the Golden Age were so skilled at mimicking the appearance of things that their largely imaginary domestic scenes are utterly convincing pictures of life as it was once lived.

Art and Home reveals the tricks behind this illusion and gives us insight into the social reality that animates the deception. We learn why domestic interiors were a favorite subject for seventeenth-century Dutch artists and their middle-class customers. And we come to understand why these images of home and family, the earliest in the history of art, still speak to us 300 years later in a voice as fresh and powerful as when they first appeared.

This is the story of an art that echoed and shaped the ideals of an emerging nation, a sensitive portrait of the painted fictions that laid the ground for our modern concept of "home" as the compass of our true selves.

The experience of a person today who views paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other Dutch Old Masters differs radically from the experience of the Dutch man or woman who may have seen the same paintings three centuries ago. This is an exploration of the way in which paintings were displayed and comprehended in seventeenth-century Holland. It offers many insights into life in the Dutch Golden Age as well as ways of interpreting the paintings of this period. Klaske Muizelaar and Derek Phillips closely examine how paintings reflected and influenced the domestic and imaginative lives of the Dutch people, particularly in Amsterdam. They consider men and women as the producers, subjects and viewers of art, uncovering seventeenth-century assumptions about the nature of men and women, ideals of sexually appropriate conduct, and actual sexual practices. The work concludes with an examination of what is altered when works that were created for viewing in the home become museum objects.

"[O]ne of the most valuable achievements of this book is its demonstration that this topic is as delightfully complex and problematic as any historian could desire. This book is a fascinating, subtle examination of love, youth, and courtship in seventeenth-century Dutch art and a significant contribution to our understanding of this culture and its art." Erin L. Webster, Art Gallery of Ontario; University of Toronto at Scarborough, Sixteenth Century Journal "This book admirably fills a long-standing need for a critical interpretation of scenes of merry gatherings...A main strength of this study is that it considers the literary material of marriage manuals, songbooks, poetry, and emblems in conjunction with close visual analysis as keys to interpretation.

Another strength is that the author emphasizes how the visual material may have been regarded and interpreted in its time...A third strength is the range of interpretations proposed, and their presentation as intentionally fluid and ambiguous." Renaissance Quarterly "Although many of the artists' names and their works are familiar to specialists, Nevitt probes their content in novel ways. He writes with a light touch that includes humor, witty turns of phrase, and personal insight, as well as intelligence and wisdom. A splendid, original, richly rewarding book, the second contribution to Cambridge University Press's four-part series on Netherlandish Visual Culture."

Historians of Netherlandish Art Review of Books "Rich in ideas...beautifully produced."

Dutch & Flemish Paintings

by Peter C. Sutton
Dutch & Flemish Paintings

This lavishly illustrated color catalogue is the record of a magnificent private collection of Dutch and Flemish,seventeenth-century cabinet-sized paintings. Assembled over 40 years by Willem, Baron van Dedem, it is regarded as the most important private collection of its kind in the UK. Key paintings are promised gifts to the Mauritshuis in the Hague and the National Gallery in London.

Foreign travellers in the Netherlands described the large number of paintings and works of art in the houses of the seventeenth century citizenry. Both humble craftspeople and well-to-do regents with fashionable tastes collected paintings.

In Works of Art in Seventeenth Century Houses, various aspects of the history of art collecting are examined using a large number of inventories. How was the art collection of citizens in the seventeenth century composed? How were the works of art distributed over the rooms of the houses? What significance did they have in the interior? In what way were paintings and objects of applied art presented?

Vermeer and the Delft School

by Walter Liedtke
Vermeer and the Delft School

This rich and rewarding volume accompanies a wide-ranging exhibition, which opened to deserved acclaim at New York's Metropolitan Museum and was also on view at the National Gallery in London, it evokes the artistic life of Delft from 1200 to 1700 and the rich history of the town's influence on Dutch culture. This volume is the most exhaustive study to date of the School of Delft and an extraordinary study of Vermeer's work as well.


Paintings and prints representing beauty and seduction, love and desire, chastity and unchastity assumed a conspicuous position in Dutch art of the seventeenth century. Seductress of Sight includes six studies originally published in Dutch that shed new light on intriguing aspects of Dutch art of the period. In highly divergent ways, Hendrick Goltzius and Gerrit Dou, the two artists who take center stage in these studies, developed a breathtaking virtuosity in the service of such themes, producing works that were exceptionally valued by collectors and art lovers.

Seductress of Sight considers why certain subjects were selected, why they were considered so attractive, and what thoughts and associations these visual delights evoked. Sluijter examines the patterns of selection, and the way in which artists treated pictorial traditions and iconographic conventions in themes and motifs. The author offers striking insights into the meaning which these images had for the artist and his audience.

This book is a collection of writings on aspects of painting in Delft during the period 1650–1675. Walter Liedtke, highly respected curator and scholar of Dutch and Flemish art, discusses at length the work of four artists: Carel Fabritius, Gerard Houckgeest, Pieter de Hooch, and Johannes Vermeer. Liedtke considers recent interpretations and research on these artists' works, exploring in particular the relationship between style and observation in their paintings.

The book begins by examining the question of whether such a community or tradition as the "Delft School" ever existed and by reviewing earlier opinions on the matter. The second chapter is devoted to Fabritius's small townscape A View in Delft, its reconstruction as an illusionistic image originally mounted in a perspective box, and the painting's significance in the narrow and in the broadest sense. In the third chapter, Leidtke focuses on a specialized genre in Delft—views of actual church interiors—and offers another explanation of how naturalistic paintings, even those that carefully record existing sites, inevitably depend upon pictorial precedents. The fourth chapter on De Hooch and the "South Holland" tradition of genre painting prepares the way for the fifth, a look at Vermeer's early work. In the final chapter, the author considers Vermeer's work as a mature artist, one who has completely mastered his means.

This beautiful book is an intensive and visually enchanting examination of nineteen flower and still life masterpieces from museums aroun the world. This book was written in conjuction with the show presented at the Rijksmuseum, June through September of l999. Art lovers, artists, scholars, conservators and laymen will enjoy this journey back to the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century workshops of such artistic giants as Jan Brueghel, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Rachel Ruysch, Jan Van Huysum and more. Historical backgrounds of fifteen painters are featured along with technical information on supports (canvas, wood or copper), imprimaturas, under drawings, mediums, and paints. Beautiful color plates, artistic techniques, and scientific knowledge are shared.

Dutch Classicism

by Albert Blankert
Dutch Classicism

A spectacular exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 1999 and a copiously illustrated catalogue will present the other face of the Golden Age: the painters of Dutch Classicism. The catalogue examines every facet of Dutch Classicism. Attention is paid to the relationship of Dutch Classicism to seventeenth-century architecture and literature. The publication contains three introductory essays: Albert Blankert on classicist painting, its context and meaning; Koen Ottenheym on architecture; and Arie Jan Gelderblom on classicist tendencies in poetry and literature. Then 68 paintings are shown and discussed by Albert Blankert, Nathalie Dufais, Jeroen Giltaij, Friso Lammertse, Melanie Mathijsen, Lawrence W. Nichols, Peter C. Sutton, Irene van Thiel-Stroman, Christiaan Vogelaar and others. These 68 entries include an extensive list of sources, biographies, history, bibliography, connections to other works of art and other disciplines, explanations of the contents (mythology), etc. The book includes an extensive bibliography and index.

In The Group Portraiture of Holland, art historian Alois Riegl (1858–1905) argues that the artists of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Holland radically altered the beholders relationship to works of art. Group portraits by artists such as Rembrandt and Frans Halls reflect an egalitarian viewpoint not found in the more hierarchically structured Italian works of the same period. First published in 1902 and here in English for the first time, the book opened up areas of inquiry that continue to engage scholars today.

The Royal Cabinet of Paintings in the Mauritshuis, in the Hague, houses the oldest national collection of paintings in the Netherlands. This selection of seventeenth-century "Genre" paintings includes works by Jan Steen, Molenaar, and Adriaen vaan Ostade.

This text explores the aspects of a truly creative period in Dutch art when sureness of instinct and quality of performance held a safe balance. The work of the great masters and their impact on others are analyzed and set in the context of a period of re-establishment in many areas of life.

The Golden Age of Dutch Painting in Historical Perspective

by F. Grijzenhout (Editor), Henk Van Veen (Editor), Andrew McCormick (Translator)
The Golden Age of Dutch Painting in Historical Perspective

This is the first survey of the diverse critical understandings of seventeenth-century Dutch art from its origins to the present. Appreciated in the eighteenth century by amateurs and collectors, Dutch art during the Romantic age became a focus of ideological interest. From the late 19th century onward, it developed into a subject of scholarly research, indeed one of the foundational fields of art history in the modern era. This study provides insight into the various artistic, literary, political, and philosophical approaches that Dutch painting has inspired over the ages.

Despite the active tradition of scholarship on Dutch painting of the seventeenth century, scholars continue to grapple with the problem of how the strikingly realistic characteristics of art from this period can be reconciled with its possible meanings. With the advent of new methodologies, these debates have gained momentum in the past decade. Looking at 17th-Century Dutch Art, which includes classic essays as well as contributions especially written for this volume, provides a timely survey of the principal interpretative methods and debates, from their origins in the 1960s to current manifestations, while suggesting potential avenues of inquiry for the future. The book offers fascinating insights into the meaning of Dutch art in its original cultural context as well as into the world of scholarship that it has inspired.

During the seventeenth century, the Netherlands—a small country with just two million inhabitants and virtually no natural resources—enjoyed a "Golden Age" of economic success, world power, and tremendous artistic output. In this book North examines the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch society boasted Europe's greatest number of cities and highest literacy rate, unusually large numbers of publicly and privately owned art works, religious tolerance, and a highly structured and wide-ranging social network.

A series of interconnected essays on love and courtship as themes in Dutch art, this study examines pictorial subjects and artists that have never been considered together: paintings and prints of "garden parties" by David Vinckboons and Esaias van de Velde, merry companies by Willem Buytewech, paintings of courting couples observing peasant festivities by Jan Miense Molenaer, two portraits by Frans Hals and two important landscape etchings by Rembrandt. Nevitt places these works in the context of the culture of love at the time, which manifested itself in the social practices of courtship and a variety of amatory texts.

Dutch Flower Painting 1600–1720

by Paul D. Taylor
Dutch Flower Painting 1600–1720

This scholarly work examines seventeenth-century Dutch flower painting within the contexts of symbolism, political and economic events, religion, art criticism, and the art market. Detailed discussions use seventeenth-century sources to explore the significance of these paintings to their cultural contemporaries. Attractive reproductions, most of them in color, serve to illustrate the points that are made in the text. Interested lay readers are likely to enjoy the reproductions and discussions of individual painters. Because much of the book concentrates on fairly narrow interpretive issues, however, it will be of primary interest to scholars and students of the period.

The Golden Age is a modern and wide-ranging chronology that not only complies with recent scholarly insights but also makes fascinating reading for all those wishing to become informed about this extremely flourishing artistic period. The lucid text discusses more than four hundred painters and is accompanied by reproductions typical of each artist's work. With no fewer than 1117 reproductions, of which 74 are colour plates, the reader becomes acquainted with Dutch society in all its surprising diversity.

Paragons of Virtue is the first systematic analysis of domestic paintings, which were among the most popular and endearing images produced by Dutch artists during the Golden Century. Focusing on their broader function and significance within Dutch culture, this study has made extensive use of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century family treatises that are important sources for understanding these paintings. Through its rich source material and the paintings themselves, Paragons of Virtue sheds further light on the position of women in 17-century Dutch society and on the critical role that art played in early modern Europe in espousing and maintaining the patriarchal status quo.