National Gallery of Art Inspiration - Baroque and Dutch

Generally speaking, one of my favorite periods of art history is the 1600s (otherwise known as the 17th century). This is the Baroque period. A period in which some of the greatest oil painters lived and brought to full bloom the art of classic, traditional oil painting.

                           Peter Paul Rubens, "Daniel in the Lion's Den"

The followers of Caravaggio mentioned in the last post and, Caravaggio himself, are sometimes included in this period. Their work certainly had the drama-filled light and action, that the period is known for, yet I've seen books that place them in the High Renaissance. There are rarely clean breaks in general history. It’s mostly just gradual change that becomes apparent and “defined” when looking back, and the history of art is no different.


Either way, the rooms at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. hold many treasures from this period, including among them masterworks from the Dutch school which include Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals.

Here are shots I took of some Dutch paintings from the swingin’ 1600s:

                   Frans Hals, “Portrait of a Member of the Haarlem Civic Guard” (detail)

Jan de Bray, “Portrait of the Artist's Parents, Salomon de Bray and Anna Westerbaen” (detail)

                             One of Rembrandt’s self portraits in detail.

Of course another great Dutch master of that time is Johannes Vermeer. Two paintings of his not to be missed on a visit to NGA is “Girl with the Red Hat” and “Woman Holding a Balance”. They hang in little gallery 50c, which is part of the “cabinet galleries” display.  Here is a shot of my wife looking at “Girl with the Red Hat". I was surprised and encouraged, at how small a well known masterpiece can actually be!

Click here for a quick NGA video that will help you to appreciate this little gem!


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