Home, Tavern, Bordello: Looking at 17th-century Dutch Genre Painting
210 Tappan
T 10:00am-1:00pm
3 Credit Seminar

Scenes of courtship in well-appointed interiors, chores in the home, fights in the tavern, exchanges in the brothel continue to delight us and to influence our understanding of 17th-century Dutch social life. This course examines the emergence and development of these new pictorial subjects in this period, and considers the role of images in shaping contemporary social and cultural values. We will study the technical and thematic innovations of painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Nicolaes Maes, Gerard ter Borch, and their equally interesting if less well-known contemporaries. We will look at the various motivations for buying paintings in this period, and consider how painters met and challenged collectors' expectations with their ingenuity. We will also scrutinize the different methods modern art historians use to interpret these paintings, many of which are open to multiple readings. This course is designed not only to offer a survey of major types and examples of 17th-century Dutch genre painting, but also to encourage careful visual study of images and critical reading of texts. Reading assignments will include articles and book excerpts on individual artists or paintings, interpretative methods, and socio-economic history.D.3