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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…

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…

The Miniaturist

If you are in the UK you might have watched the tv adaptation of The Miniaturist on the BBC on Boxing Day. It is a two-part series, based on the book of the same title by Jessie Burton. The Miniaturist…

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…

Bitesize Blog: William Larkin

William Larkin Portrait of Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset Oil on canvas, 206.3×122.2cm (81 3/16 x 48 1/8″), 1613 Even for Jacobean standards this is over the top. A contemporary wrote at the time that Richard Sackville “dazzled the eyes…

Bitesize Blog: Ferdinand Bol

Ferdinand Bol Portrait of an Unknown Woman Oil on canvas, 106.7 x 91.5 cm, 1644 Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) was a Dutch old master based in Amsterdam and a pupil of Rembrandt. This painting at Kenwood House in London is one of…

Bitesize Blog: Dog Asleep

Gerrit Dou Dog Asleep Oil on panel, 6½ x 8½ in. (16.5 x 21.6 cm.) , 1650 This cuddly sleeping dog is tiny. Well, the oil painting is at just 7×9″ (c. 21x16cm). Gerrit Dou was and is famous for…