The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis houses an outstanding collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings in an important monument. It ranks among the top four in the world for Dutch Paintings of the Golden Age.
The oldest paintings in the Mauritshuis date from the 15th and 16th centuries. In those days painters generally worked to commission and mostly painters Christian themes, such as stories from the Bible or episodes from the lives of the saints – either served as altarpieces in Catholic churches or were intended for use in private worship. (e.g. Madonna and Child below below)
After 1600 there were many changes in Dutch painting. Catholic Church ceased to be a patron of the arts. Painters went in search of new buyers and found them among the wealthy class citizens, thanks to an economic boom. There new clients wanted a new kind of art about the recognizable objects from their immediate surroundings.
Now, in addition to history paintings and portraits, there were still life, depictions of the landscape, and scenes of everyday life. This marked the beginning of a Golden Age for Dutch Painting. (e.g. Ice Scene below)
Rembrandt was the most versatile and influential painter of the Golden Age. He made more than three hundred paintings that depict a wide range of subject matter. His work often displays figures in action and strong contrasts of light and dark. He made many of his most compelling in the last years of his life, when his paintings became more serene in character.
Some of his quite famous art pieces exhibited in Mauritshuis are:
Another artist might not be as well known as Rembrandt, however one of his paintings is at the top of world class. His name is Johannes Vermeer.
In the Golden Age the art of painting grew into a flourishing trade that was fueled by great economic prosperity. The competition among painters was so fierce. Many of them specialized in a certain subject or a specific style, with an aim to excelling and making a name of themselves. The result was huge numbers of paintings of great variety and high quality.
Thanks to such competition, more creativity and inspiration has gushed out of our brain, in art as well as in all other areas, which becomes a strong force to make the society advancement.