Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century

Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

The 17th-century Dutch Republic witnessed unprecedented prosperity, thanks largely to the seafaring merchants who made the country Europe’s center of international trade. The market for Dutch paintings exploded: the newly rich commissioned portraits and bought new types of paintings with which to decorate their homes. The sea was an integral part of life for the maritime republic, and the Dutch specialized in a new type of painting: the seascape. Jacob van Ruisdael’s Rough Sea (about 1670) evokes windy weather conditions through dynamic visual elements, like the listing ships and whipping waves. Among the fine Rembrandts in the room, Artist in His Studio (about 1628) achieves monumentality despite its diminutive size by emphasizing the difficulty of the painter’s creative act before a looming panel. The gallery also features two newly restored oval paintings by Rembrandt—Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Gold Chain (1634) and Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat (1634)— showcasing his accomplished technique at a time when he was beginning to make his mark as portraitist to the Amsterdam elite.


The renovation of this gallery was made possible by Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo.