MERCATORFONDS edition only available in Dutch language.

During the seventeenth century, Dutch artists were unparalleled in their dedication to depicting ordinary people doing everyday things. Genre painting was the preeminent 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 color palette and rich with radiant natural light.

This superb collection by the curators of an accompanying exhibition 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 or to moral messages that would have been familiar to the contemporary viewer. The book explores these hidden moral messages, as well as the artists’ penchant for clever visual puns.

Readers interested in the Dutch Golden Age or seventeenth-century art will welcome this volume. Individual essays on each painting, close-up photography showing important details, and a selection of comparative images add to the book’s richness and provide valuable context.