17th Century Dress: A Speaking Fashion

Dress in 16th and 17th century portraiture was loaded with meaning. Portraits then, were vehicles to convey meaning first and foremost. Not only the (royal) status of the sitter, but also her or his heritage, property, material wealth, knowledge or wisdom, geography, and future aspirations were all contained in embroidery, accessories, and fashion.

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

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 were dogs useful, loved and popular companions, they also made fabulous painting models. Spaniels especially feature repeatedly in these beautiful little art works. Spaniel-biased as I am I would totally agree they are the best looking dog all round, yet in these 17th century pictures they are not always featured for their positive traits…

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…