• THAMES HUDSON
The Dutch Republic in the 17th century was home to one of the greatest flowerings of painting in the history of Western art. Freed from the constraints of royal and church patronage, artists created a rich outpouring of works that circulated through an open market to patrons and customers at every level of Dutch society. The closely observed details of daily life captured in portraits, genre scenes and landscapes offer a wealth of information about the possessions, activities and circumstances that distinguished members of the social classes, from the nobility to the urban poor. The dazzling array of paintings gathered here--by artists such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch, as well as Rembrandt and Vermeer--illuminated by essays from leading scholars, invites us to explore a vibrant early modern society and its reflection in a golden age of brilliant painting.
The catalogue essays are a veritable treasure trove of information about the period and will be consulted forever by any serious scholar of seventeenth-century Dutch social history. ― Historians of Netherlandish Art
Blissfully accessible essays. ― The Wall Street Journal
Rembrandt’s Amsterdam feels modern because it was deeply materialistic. Wealth measured moral fibre, so inner rectitude could be read in the quality of clothes. This is what makes Class Distinctions appear to be as much about the 21st century as the 17th. -- Ariella Budick ― Financial Times
Priceless insights into the workings and self-image of an entire society…. a deeply informative catalog. -- Sebastian Smee ― Boston Globe