Bitesize Blog: Van der Helst

Van der Helst’s portrait of cloth merchant Abraham del Court and his wife is all about her stunning white silk dress. Van der Helst was a true master of painting drapery and this painting is no exception. Despite the painterly brush marks the effect is extremely realistic.

Jan Steen, The merry family,

Dogs in Dutch Genre Painting

18 shares Share14 Share +10 Tweet0 Pin4 Share0 Dutch 17th century art is full of dogs. The highly popular (then and now) and numerous genre paintings feature our furry friends so often, they seem part of the furniture. Not only…

Judith Leyster, Self Portrait, National Gallery of Art Washington

Bitesize Blog: Judith Leyster

Judith Leyster, Self Portrait, oil on canvas, 74.6×65.1cm, c. 1630. National Gallery of Art, WashingtonJudith LeysterSelf PortraitOil on canvas, 74.6 x 65.1 cm, c. 1630 One of the most well known female painters from the Dutch Golden Age, Judith Leyster (1609-1660)…

Rembrandt, Self portraits as the apostle Paul, Rijksmuseum

An Honest Self Portrait

Why do artists paint self portraits? Is it out of vanity or is there a deeper and more modest reason? Does it feel weird to paint your own self portrait? Self portraiture is a very old genre and remains popular…

Sophie Ploeg Oil Studio thumbnail

A Study After Ter Borch

Copying the Old Masters is as old a technique as the old masters themselves. For as long as artists have existed they learned from their masters or the works they left behind. It is a wonderful and fun way to…

17th Century Dutch Dress

If you look at early 17th century Dutch portraits, such as by Rembrand and Frans Hals you might be wondering what on earth these people are wearing. Those crazy ruffs are just the top of the iceberg and below there…

Hobbema, Avenue in Middelharnis

Let’s Take a Walk in a Dutch Landscape

The Dutch 17th century is a famous period in the history of art because of its prolific production of art.  It is not withouth reason  that the century is called the ‘Golden Age’ as the small country lived through one…

Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Susanna Lunden(?), probably 1622-5. National Gallery London.

Why Bother with the Old Masters

You know me, I love my art history. And I write and paint partly because I want to show you so you can love it too. But, I can hear you ask, why bother with the old masters? What’s the…

Frans Hals and Bartholomeus Van der Helst

Two paintings, by two different painters; they currently hang in the same room at the National Gallery in London. One was painted in 1640 in Haarlem, The Netherlands. The other was painted four years later in Amsterdam by an artist who was…

Pleating Wonders: Ruffs

The large ruffs you find in Dutch early seventeenth-century portraits are the results of the time consuming efforts of linen bleaching, sewing, starching and setting. A ruff is constructed from a long strip of fabric, usually very fine linen lawn…