Dutch art reached its peak in the seventeenth century and this period is considered the golden age of this art. There are some things about Dutch art of this period that make it clearly different from the art of other countries.
Such characteristics: Holland was ruled by Spain in the sixteenth century. The Dutch people started a movement against the oppression and religious intolerance of foreign rule and declared the country’s independence in 1581 and Holland became independent in the beginning of the seventeenth century.
After independence, foreign trade increased and the country became prosperous. Along with happiness, prosperity, peace and religious freedom, the interest in art and demand for paintings increased among the people.
According to some scholars, the changed situation may have been a reason for the flourishing of Dutch art, but that alone does not explain the greatness of the art of world famous painters like Rembrandt, Bagger and Frans Hals.
There is no doubt that Rembrandt’s incredible truth in the effect of shadow and light, Frans Hals’s masterful bold handling of the brush, Vermeer’s precise depiction of subtle shades, the naturalness of Ryssdal’s nature scenes, all these qualities are manifestations of the amazing talent of those great artists. .
Spanish painters made paintings for the king and the court elite, while Dutch painters’ paintings were for the middle class public.
The subjects of the paintings are also related to the daily life of the people, which could attract and please the public, which include domestic scenes, festivals, scenes of taverns and taverns, pictures of people busy in music, sports, drinking alcohol etc. in their leisure moments. Portraits of people and nature scenes are prominent.
In short, we can truly call Dutch art the art of the people. The illustration style is also so simple and analogical that the pictures are easily understood and do not fail to impress the viewer.
Moments of joy and leisure have been depicted in sufficient quantity. But even though Holland was one of the major developed countries in the fields of agriculture, trade and industry at that time, there is a lack of pictures of moments of busy work in Dutch art.
Similarly, other Dutch painters did not pay attention. At that time, Dutch seafarers had reached the continents of the world, except for various restaurants and some of his disciples, and on subjects related to religion, mythology and poetry, pictures of foreign travels or foreign scenes are not found in Dutch art.
But despite the limited number of subjects, the Dutch artists paid more attention to the basic qualities of art and developed them so much that there is no doubt that they were true artists. He was unmatched in his skill of marking depth and light shades of recess. He had complete knowledge of the methods of painting and Dutch oil paintings are still in their original condition.
Like artists from other countries of Europe, Dutch artists did not have the practice of going to Italy for special studies and very few artists came to Italy. Among the artists who came to Italy were some artists from the city of Utrecht who went to Italy in the beginning of the seventeenth century.
They were influenced by Caravadjyo and following them, these artists created art which is known as Utrecht style.
Among these, Hendrik Tervugen (1585-1629) and Gerard Van Handhorst (1590-1656) are particularly famous. Following Caravadjyo’s painting ‘The Invocation of Saint Matthew’, Tervugen created a painting on the same subject which greatly influenced Dutch painters.
Being the art of the common people, it was natural that Dutch art should begin with portraiture. In the beginning, most of the artists were portrait painters who got the work of portrait portraits from rich people and businessmen.
Many businessmen used to be members of the city security team and they were fond of getting group portraits of the team members made.
As a result, the practice of group personification also increased in Dutch art. Officials of various corporations were also fond of group portraits. Among the individual painters of Holland, Frans Hals (1580-1666) gained world fame.
He did not paint subjects other than individual portraits. According to the custom of that time, all the people depicted are wearing black clothes and white collars. They were often businessmen belonging to the elite class. Drawing pictures of people wearing similar clothes was a boring job.
There was nothing refreshing about it. But with his drawing skills, Hals has given such life to the pictures of such a common subject that the viewer is fascinated. There is a beautiful luxury of physical beauty in Hals’s paintings; He has not resorted to rhetoric or imagination anywhere.
Unusual drawing skill was the supreme quality of his art and with minimal but sensitive use of paintbrush he created lively and enthusiastic portraits of men. He used very few colours, but his paintings of the city security forces’ banquets also have the brightness of colours.
His early portraits have been made thoughtfully and with special attention to truth, but they appear somewhat harsh. With practice, the qualities of fearlessness and naturalness were incorporated in his drawing method and the portraits started appearing alive.
The biggest drawback of Hals’s paintings is that in them only attention has been given to superficial beauty and the internal qualities of the psychological personality of the subject of the painting are not visible in it.
Another specialty of his talent was that he created coherence in group portraits by systematically arranging various parts of the picture. Among his world famous paintings are ‘The Laughing Horseman’, ‘Yonker Ramp and his lover, the female administrator of the Harlem old age home’.
In addition to individual portraits, Dutch painters also painted realistic scenes of the leisure of townspeople and villagers. Adriaan Van Ostad (1610-1685) was an expert in portraying the daily life of rural people and his paintings ‘Scuffle’, ‘Fiddle Player’ and ‘Teacher’ are famous works indicating his skill.
Artists interested in depicting the lives of people from the upper strata of society have mostly chosen such scenes in which women are engrossed in their daily work or in instrumental music or gentlemen are drinking alcohol together. He has also depicted scenes in which family members are shown celebrating festivals or spending leisure time with joy.
Among these artists are ‘Musical Lesson’, ‘Music Lover’, ‘Hunter’s Visit’ by Gabriele Metsu (1630-67), and ‘Eve of Saint Nicholas’ by Jan Stein (1626-79), (Figure 13). ‘Love-stricken Maid’ These works highlight the individual characteristics of his art.
Even among the above mentioned painters, Gerard Turbach (1617-81) and Pieter de Hoch (1629-84) achieved special status in the depiction of domestic subjects. Turbarkh was adept in showing the effect of light in the dark part of the room by properly marking the subtle shades of gray and dark colors and in composing the scene under gentle light by placing people and objects in the right place.
Among his representative paintings, ‘Ramani-Bhakta’, ‘Sangeet’, ‘Pisanhara’s Family’ are these works. Turbarkh was unmatched in accurately depicting the shine of silk cloth.
The main difference between Pieter de Hoch and other Dutch painters of domestic subjects is that Hoch gave as much importance to the background as to the men. Be it the scene of the interior of the house or the courtyard, he used to focus his attention on recording the subtle changes taking place in shadow and light.
For this reason, in his paintings of interior scenes of the house like ‘Young Mother’, ‘Card Players’, ‘Dutch Interior’, the illuminated part of the room near the windows and doors and the less illuminated part inside are used with sharp contrast of colors. Whereas in many paintings of the courtyard like ‘The Courtyard of the Dutch House’, the effect of the gentle light of the Dutch environment has been shown with the use of slightly contrasting shades.
Like Rembrandt or Karavadbhayo, he did not use sharp contrasts in light and shadow but paid attention to preserving the natural colors of the subjects; For this reason his paintings have excellent color beauty.
Like Vermeer, the atmosphere of his interior scenes is delightful and full of light and he has given unity to the entire scene through the combination of geometric method, yet he also emphasizes on details, nuances and human emotions. The pictures have become more realistic and descriptive.
He opened doors between several scenes. Due to which the domestic atmosphere seems to be more intimate and the painter has also skillfully captured the subtle changes taking place in the depth and light of the holiday. Got the opportunity to do it.
Despite Hoch taking full care of the descriptive power of the paintings, looking at the effect of light in the paintings, one has to admit that the central subject of his paintings is light, and not the person depicted or the domestic scene.
Among the Dutch painters who made paintings of interior scenes, Jacobus Braille and Adriaan Bouver were also given a secondary place. Emmanuel Davitt and Gérard Hochkost created very attractive paintings of the interiors of Protestant churches with realistic perspective and realistic perspective of light and shadow coming and reflected from the windows and doors and interspersed with small figures of worshippers. Are.
Most of the Dutch artists used to choose a particular painting subject according to their interest and concentrate on that subject. Among the nature painters, some artists were experts in marine and seaside scenes, while some artists painted only scenes of rural areas and some artists painted only buildings, squares and monuments in cities.
There were also such artists among them who created pictures of fields extending till the horizon and sky surrounded by clouds. Willem van de Velde, father and son, were both painters of seascapes. Aart van der Neer’s ‘Scenes from Moonlit Nights’ paintings were popular.
Famous painter Hercules Segers – whom Rembrandt also considered a great nature painter – is famous for his painting of a mountain scene under a sky surrounded by dark clouds. Yan Van Goyen (1596–1656) used soft, gray colors to depict buildings and scenes of busy life along river and canal banks; ‘Fort of Montfurt’, ‘View of Didrecht’ are among his famous paintings.
He was more interested in depicting different states of nature realistically and in detail. Albert Kipp (1620-91) was a talented nature painter and he used to draw animal figures in his paintings. ‘Cows in the Countryside’, ‘Two Spotted Horses’ are his famous paintings.
Ryssdal’s pupil Mindet Habbema (1638-1709) is famous for his nature paintings of villages, watermills and ponds in a happy and peaceful environment, ‘The Road to Middelharnis’, (Fig. 66) ‘Watermill’, ‘Entrance to the Village’ are among his famous paintings.
Very few Dutch painters were attracted to urban scenes. Except Vermeer, no talented Dutch painter painted urban scenes. The greatest of the Dutch nature painters was Jacob van Ryssdal (1628–1682). His color scheme was restrained and unlike other Dutch nature painters, he did not give importance to human figures in the scene and many of his paintings are human-less.
He himself was an unsociable, solitary and pessimistic person and his painted scenes also reflect his attitude.
It was not long before the birth of nature depiction in the history of painting and the problem faced by the artists was how to depict the land, dense forest, sunlight, water and sky together in their true form because of the interference caused by them. There is a lot of conflict between light effects. A satisfactory solution to this problem was found by painters and Rysdal was the most prominent among them. He has painted scenes of dense forests, waterfalls, gushing water streams, barren dunes, roaring seas, pitiful ruins and cities.
Dutch nature painters did not paint directly on location, although the origins of some early nature paintings by Segers and Rembrandt have been traced. ‘View of Harlem’, ‘Jewish Cemetery’, ‘Sunlight Wave’, ‘Swamp’ are among Ryssdal’s famous paintings. Among these also ‘Jewish cemetery’ is especially famous.
Ryssdal paid great attention to effectively expressing the different states of nature and in this picture he has given a powerful glimpse of the fierce nature of nature. The scene undoubtedly appears imaginary but this does not diminish its impact. Black thunder clouds attacking the rugged, remote, mountainous terrain, ruined ancient ruins, water flow passing through the graveyard, dry trunks of trees bursting through the clouds and a few rays of light falling on the graves and the horizon. But the vague rainbows together create a feeling of utter sadness; It is as if everything is perishable – natural forces like air, water etc. and the speed of time turn humans, man-made objects, trees and plants into soil.
Perhaps due to the thought of the mortality of his life coming to his mind, Ryssdal has also written his name on a stone in the cemetery.
Some Dutch painters concentrated only on object depiction. Among these, Willem Claus Heda and Jan David Heim were especially famous. Heda mainly made objects of metal utensils, glass and fruits, while Hem made objects of flowers.
The main objective of his object depiction was the accurate recording of the effect of light on different types of surfaces of objects and proper combination of the shapes of objects in the picture area. Object painters Abraham Van Beuren and Willem Kaff also earned considerable fame. Calf’s object painting kept in the Louvre Museum is very famous.
The mature combination of the characteristics of the best Dutch paintings of the Baroque period – the effect of light and the correct marking of light, dark and subtle shades, the correct perception of depth of relief and the extraordinary freshness of colors – we find in the work of Jan Vermeer (1632-75). Can be seen in art.
Like Rembrandt, he is counted among the great painters of the world although his paintings are not as numerous. In the beginning, Vermeer made allegorical paintings like ‘Christ in the house of Martha and Mary’, ‘Allegory of Diana and Fairies’, ‘Allegory of Religion’.
But at some time, he started painting scenes of religious and mythological subjects and painting with a contemporary background, like the contemporary Dutch painters, and left them all behind. His skill in capturing the exact effects of light and correct shades of color was exceptional.
It seemed as if he started painting after making a prior decision that even a single touch of his paintbrush on the surface would not miss his final goal. As a result, his painted scenes are filled with clean, transparent and natural shimmering light. By taking special care of the environmental effect, the depth and expanse of the room and the distance between different objects in his paintings have become very impressive, which is not visible in other Dutch paintings.
For this purpose, he would often depict a group of objects in the foreground so that the background would appear far away. Another specialty of his was his extreme sensitivity towards the beauty of colors and because of this, his color combinations have the ability to fascinate the audience for which modern painters sacrifice their lives.
Developing objective qualities within realistic depiction is a work of extraordinary talent which Vermeer possessed. To give density to the shapes, while making precise sequential marking of shades, he used very small dots of pure colors, which gave the surfaces of his paintings the shine of enamel, yet there was no ambiguity in them.
To Vermeer, every object in the universe seemed worthy of depiction and whatever he depicted, be it human body, face, clothes, wall, table, floor, glass, utensils etc., he did it with a sense of identity and in an equally excellent manner. Every object reflects the human body and there is no emotionless depiction anywhere.
His paintings can be called hilarious visual poetry. Considering the above mentioned qualities, there are many differences between Vermeer and Rembrandt. Both are considered to be the best Dutch painters of the Baroque period and their art greatly inspired modern painters – Vermeer’s art in the direction of creativity and objective beauty and Rembrandt’s art in the direction of expressionism.
The paintings of many Dutch painters like Gabriel Metz, Ostaard, Jan Steyn etc. clearly look like story paintings. In order to increase the narrative effect of the picture, he used to carefully depict the postures, activities of the people and the details of the background, so that the viewer feels that a dramatic incident is being presented in front of him and he can learn about the incident from that point of view. starts thinking; For example, as soon as one sees Stein’s painting ‘The Eve of Saint Nicholas’, the viewer’s attention is drawn towards the different postures of the people depicted and he gets immersed in imagining the story behind it.
From this point of view the purpose of Vermeer’s art was completely different. He considered the subject as just an excuse for illustration and did not pay much attention to its narrative aspect.
In addition to the extreme development of these realistic elements of real brightness of light, depth of recess and density of objects, Vermeer’s art has the division of the picture field into detailed simplified shapes, skillful composition, rhythmicity of lines, shimmering texture of the surface and attractive but gentle happiness. Because of these pure artistic qualities of color and harmony, he has come closer to modern art than other Dutch artists of the Baroque period.
Vermeer’s paintings ‘Painter in the Workshop’, ‘Letter’ and ‘Music Lesson’ are particularly noteworthy in terms of compositional skills and the effect of light; These paintings ‘Maid pouring milk’ and ‘Lace making’ are examples of beautiful color harmony and shimmering surface, although most of his paintings are full of all the characteristics of his art to more or less extent.
‘Pearl Necklace’, ‘Pianist’, ‘Girl Reading a Letter’, are other famous paintings. Vermeer’s two nature paintings ‘View of Delft’ and ‘The Road to Delft’ were his last works and their coloring is so realistic and excellent that other Dutch nature paintings cannot stand in front of them; Their surfaces are as shiny as lacquer.
Very little information is known about Barmer’s biography. His financial condition remained unstable. In the early period, Vermeer received a lot of education from the Utrecht painters and through them he became acquainted with the art of Karavadbhayo.
The Ike brothers also have some influence on his art. But his original talent cannot be denied. After being neglected for almost two centuries, with the rise of modern art, the greatness of Burmer’s art was recognized and he got a place of respect in the art field. Currently only 37 of his pictures are available.
Holland’s most famous painter, Rembrandt Hermes van Rhyn (1606–69), was born in Leiden into a miller’s family. Due to lack of interest, he left his college education incomplete and became an apprentice to a local painter. Within a short time and after working with a painter for six months, he started working independently.
After attaining fame around the age of 21, he went to the capital Amsterdam for business. His early style of detailed, candid and self-respectful portraits of wealthy people made him popular.
He married a girl named Saskia, bought a house and started enjoying life, spending it freely. But a lot of change was about to happen in his life and art. In 1642 his beloved wife Saskia died, leaving behind their son Titus.
Rembrandt had spent a lot on buying paintings, other artworks and expensive things and on speculation. Some time after the death of his wife, he admitted a girl named Hendrik Stoffels into the house as a maid and had immoral relations with her, due to which the people of the religious community condemned him. His early style began to change.
He started doing independent, original paintings fearlessly and his popularity kept on decreasing. Now financial distress and adverse circumstances surrounded him. He somehow managed to survive on irregular sales of painting and etching work and lived in a poor slum of the city from 1660.
In his last years he had two important tasks; One was a group photograph taken by the Textile Manufacturers Association of its control committee members, popularly known as ‘Syndics’; The second was a picture of the legend ‘Conspiracy of the Batavians’ mentioned in the ancient history of Holland for the wall of the city of Amsterdam.
The second painting remained on the wall for a year but was later returned to Rembrandt and replaced with a simpler work by another painter. How sad this would have been for Rembrandt, I can imagine that Rembrandt was completely devastated by the death of his beloved son Titus and he died in 1669.
In the same year his confidant Hendrik Stoffels died. 1668 The great artist left this world forever.
Rembrandt was an artist of extraordinary talent but it took time for his originality to be revealed. His works of art up to the forties of his age can be divided into two categories, the first category includes his personal portraits, which he has created with skill and confidence, but which do not reveal his original talent and they do not have much in common with contemporary Dutch artists. There is no precise and effective marking of the same light; In the second category, there are paintings of religious and mythological subjects which he has made in the usual ostentatious style.
‘Anatomy Lesson’ and ‘The Shipbuilder’ are examples of the first category, and ‘Blinding of Samson’ and ‘The Rape of Praserpine’ are of the second category. If Rembrandt had died in 1644, he would have been counted among skilled artists, but apart from the painting ‘Night Watch’, there is no evidence of his unique talent.
After 1644, Rembrandt’s art got a new direction and instead of being a skilled painter, he started creating art with surprising freedom; With time, his style, despite being connected to simple but effective reality, became imaginative and spiritual and he became immortal as a visionary in the art world.
A simple analysis of the changes in Rembrandt’s art is not possible. It would be injustice to the greatness of Rembrandt’s art to explain it by the death of his beloved wife, the entry of Hendrik Stoffels, the poor response to the painting ‘Night Watch’ and financial bankruptcy, although it is quite possible that the above mentioned reasons led to the change. Progress would have been accelerated.
Now the form of his art became more complex; There began to be a dual philosophy of physical beauty along with spiritual inclination and reality along with imaginary form. Expressing his inner feelings in visual form became the aim of his art. With this his interest in mastering the techniques of art increased.
Like the revolutionary leaders, he also had to face artistic contradictions and on the strength of his spiritual practice, he made art meaningful according to his goals.
There is very little harmony between his earlier paintings of realistic subjects and mythological or religious subjects, but later this difference gradually decreased and the same unique expressive unity is visible in his later paintings of different subjects.
Analyzing Rembrandt’s art is not easy, but two of its characteristics are clear. Like other contemporary Dutch painters, instead of realistically depicting the life around him, he also painted religious and mythological subjects on imaginary oriental backgrounds. Apart from this, instead of depicting light exactly, especially in the paintings of Uttarayu, he changed it as per need or centralized it.
He was adept in realistic depiction, this is evidenced by his paintings ‘Bathsheva after Bath’, ‘Syndix’ and many individual portraits and self-portraits, but he also used imagination necessary for spiritual expression. He has made romantic depictions of natural scenes.
In short, Rembrandt was an artist of unique talent primarily of religious inclination; Examples of his religious paintings are – ‘Pilgrims in Amos’, ‘David playing the harp before Saul’, ‘Homecoming of the Prodigal Son’. They were greatly influenced by the Old Testament of the Bible. His etching work and painting is of high quality.
Rembrandt had many disciples. Rembrandt’s portraits and religious paintings are exact imitations of Gobert Pilonc and Ferdinand Bol. Karel Fabritius (1620–54) has worked more intelligently; ‘Old Woman’, ‘Goldfinch’ and ‘Portrait of a Man’ are his famous paintings. Nikolaus Maas (1632-93) painted realistic scenes of public life. Aarte van Gelder (1645–1727) painted religious paintings with Biblical subjects on imaginary backgrounds, similar to Rembrandt.