Course overview

In this course you will explore the forces which were at work creating the 'golden century' of Dutch culture and art, from c.1580 - c.1680. Focusing on the kinds of connection visual artists were making with the public, we examine the gradual transformation from a public art celebrating public events, through groups who both satirised immoralities and (sometimes simultaneously) celebrated personal and social pleasures, into a rising concern for the portrayal of their own culture, mores and private lives. Through the paintings themselves we will examine changing attitudes to the state, to religion, to morality, to private life, and to pleasure.

Course description

This course is an introduction to the 'golden century' of Dutch culture and art, from c.1580 - c.1680. In the first two sessions we take a broad, survey approach to the realist tradition in the Low Countries, looking particularly at the decline of religious painting and the divergence between the rising secular cultures of the Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium) and the United Provinces (now the Netherlands). Closing in on the latter we focus on the emergence of new genres such as landscape, seascape, still life and interior scenes. The third session narrows the field by following a theme- examining paintings of the making of music, from the Carrvaggists through masters such as Hals and Rembrandt to the later painters of interiors such as Metsu and Vermeer. The final two sessions are concerned with the rise of a more privately-orientated realism which led gradually to a close and closer focus on interior scenes. In the final session the work of Johannes Vermeer is compared and contrasted with his closest contemporaries, Gerrit Dou, Gabriel Metsu and Pieter de Hooch, to try to establish what are the qualities which have led to his recent emergence from 'one of the pack' to the current superstar of the genre.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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