This book examines these fascinating characteristics of Dutch art by bringing together some of the finest works from the period, including five masterpieces by Johannes Vermeer. These paintings and the scholarly essays that accompany them off glimpses into the reality of Dutch life, particularly as it unfolded in the city of Delft during the middle years of the seventeenth century.
The book accompanied an exhibition at Osaka Municipal Museum of Art from April to June 2000.
The book includes scenes that would have represented shared experiences for every citizen of Delft, but also images that were private , in that individual activities and values served as the artist's focus. Understanding and articulating their respective characteristics provides the focus of the discussions.
The world that seventeenth century Dutch artists portrayed seems real and immediate. One can almost imagine wandering within their flat landscapes, with towns and church towers silhouetted against the Dutch sky, or participating in the tender human encounters these artists so movingly captured in their renderings of daily life. However, most Dutch paintings, while seemingly true to life, contain ideas and beliefs that remain elusive, however carefully one examines the images.