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The Mauritshuis

No visit of The Golden Age of Dutch Art would be complete without a trip  to the Mauritshuis in the Hague. The mansion once belonged to the Dutch Governor Of Brazil, Johan Maurits, but most of the collection comes from the hoard of Prince William of Orange.

These include a Rubens, two Rembrandt self portraits, his ghoulish The Anatomy Lecture of Dr Tulp: two Vermeers – View of Delft and Girl with a Pearl Earring which attracted a cluster of young Japanese.

The problem with such well-known paintings is that – aside from the crowd around them – you know them so well.

So I spent more time in front of a sumptuous Hobbema and admiring the skies of Jacob van Ruysdael.

The Dutch Golden Age is big on domesticity.

You  see many  family groups, usually with a dog and with the light coming from the side into the interior, but also book-keepers, bleachers and racy soldiers drinking and  playing cards.

It’s a fascinating school of art for its technical brilliance as much as its content.

It was the first affordable art too. 100 years ago you could acquire one for £100 but now the prices are astronomical.

Strangely though – unless it’s Van Gogh, Vermeer  or Rembrandt – it carries less cachet than Picasso or nowadays David Hockney, France Bacon or Lucian Freud.

I know what I  would prefer.

About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts