Complete Checklist

  • Painted portrait of a bearded man wearing black clothing with white lace cuffs and a white neck ruff.

    Frans Hals (1582/83–1666)
    Portrait of Jacob Olycan (1596–1638), 1625
    Oil on canvas
    49 1/8 x 38 3/8 in. (124.8 x 97.5 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Transferred to the Mauritshuis in 1881
    Inv. no 459

    Frans Hals, one of the period’s chief portraitists, painted the twenty-nine-year-old brewer and burgomaster (mayor) shown here and his nineteen-year-old wife, Aletta, to commemorate their marriage of the previous year. They are depicted in mirroring poses — inclined toward each other, with one arm bent and the other hanging down — a portraiture convention in use since the sixteenth century.

  • A painted portrait of a woman wearing a black cloak trimmed with white lace at the wrists and gold brocade down the front of her dress. She wears a white cap and white neck ruff and holds a glove in her left hand.

    Frans Hals (1582/83–1666)
    Portrait of Aletta Hanemans (1606–1653), 1625
    Oil on canvas
    48 3/4 x 38 3/4 in. (123.8 x 98.3 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Transferred to the Mauritshuis in 1881
    Inv. no. 460

    Aletta’s wedding ring and bridal gloves underscore the connubial theme of this portrait, a pendant to that of her husband Jacob. Her silk garments, trimmed with expensive lace and gold brocade, were, like those of her husband, inspired by Spanish fashions. Such meticulous detail is typical of Hals’s early work. A comparison with the Frick Collection's later portraits by Hals demonstrates the artist’s evolving technique from the refined approach seen here to a looser painting style.

  • Painting showing a small group of spotlit figures in a large, dark interior space. In the group kneels an old man who holds the infant Jesus. Another kneeling man and woman are next to the old man. A tall figure dressed in a robe and headdress stands and faces the group. Other people are standing and seated in the distance watching the scene.

    Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669)
    Simeon’s Song of Praise, 1631
    Oil on panel (rounded at the upper corners)
    24 x 18 7/8 in. (60.9 x 47.9 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired by Prince William IV, 1733
    Inv. no. 145

    In the seventeenth century, history painting — the depiction of allegories, classical history, mythology, and the Bible — was highly esteemed, especially by academics. Simeon’s Song of Praise demonstrates Rembrandt’s brilliance in this genre. As chronicled in the Gospel of Luke, the elderly Simeon was promised that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. Rembrandt depicts a divinely illuminated Simeon acknowledging the child in his arms. Mary and Joseph sink in astonishment while the prophetess Anna appears before the group to offer a blessing.

  • Portrait of a man with a gray beard. He wears a black hat, and black top with a white lace collar.

    Rembrandt van Rijn  (1606-1669)
    Portrait of an Elderly Man, 1667
    Oil on canvas
    32 ¼ x 25 5/8 in. (81.9 x 67.7 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired in 1999 with the support of the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Fund for National Cultural Heritage, the Sponsor Lottery, the Fonds 1818, the Rembrandt Society, the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund, ING Group, Prof. Drs. A.C.R. Dreesmann, the Dr. Hendrik Muller National Fund and private individuals
    Inv. no. 1118

    This painting from Rembrandt’s maturity is thought to be of Lodewijck van Ludick, a merchant, art collector, and close friend of the artist. An intriguing comparison can be made between this picture and Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait (1658) in the Frick's permanent collection. Rembrandt executes both paintings in what is known as his “rough” style, characterized by loose brushstrokes and heavily impastoed surfaces. Each man’s confronting gaze conveys a sense of wisdom, as well as disillusionment.

  • Painting of a bird with a red face, yellow beak, gold body and striped wing, A thin chain attached to its leg keeps the bird tethered to the feed box on which it sits.

    Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)
    The Goldfinch, 1654
    Oil on panel
    13 ¼ x 9 in. (33.5 x 22.8 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired in 1896
    Inv. no. 605

    Fabritius uses a minimum of quick strokes to portray the house pet’s downy body. Such expert manipulation of paint to suggest form and texture may have been assimilated from Rembrandt, with whom he studied. Whatever the panel’s initial purpose — possibly a component of a birdcage or a cover for an encased painting — the little bird chained to his feed box is a masterpiece of trompe l’oeil illusionism. Vermeer — like Fabritius, a resident of Delft — was highly influenced by the artist’s pristine lighting and composed tranquility.

  • A painting showing a young woman, elegantly dressed and sitting at a table that is partly covered by a carpet. She writes a letter using a quill pen.

    Gerard ter Borch (1617–1681)
    Woman Writing a Letter, c. 1655
    Oil on panel
    15 3/8 x 11 5/8 in. (39.0 x 29.5 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Gift of Sir Henri Deterding, 1928
    Inv. no 797

    Ter Borch’s fashionably attired subject resembles his sister and frequent model Gesina. The demure lady has pushed aside the carpet covering the table in order to have a smooth surface on which to write. Since beds were found in all rooms in Dutch residences at this time, the bed here is unlikely to allude to licentious behavior. The large pearl the woman wears may corroborate this as pearls were often interpreted as symbols of virginity.

  • A young woman who leans over a table filled with food and sprinkles salt on an oyster.

    Jan Steen (1626–1679)
    Girl Eating Oysters, c. 1658–60
    Oil on panel
    8 1/8 x 5 ¾ in. (20.5 x 14.5 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Gift of Sir Henri Deterding, 1936
    Inv. no 818

    Like oysters, salt was considered an aphrodisiac. The glass of wine and the presence of the bed may indicate the girl’s intentions, as do her direct gaze and sly smile: she is offering herself. Steen fluently adapts his brushwork to suit the scale of his paintings, varying between the painstaking strokes of a miniaturist for this diminutive panel and a more painterly technique for the grand canvas “As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young," also on view in the exhibition.

  • Group of people around a table filled with food. A woman raises a glass into which wine is poured.

    Jan Steen (1626-1679)
    "As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young," 1668-70
    Oil on canvas
    52 ¾ x 64 1/8 in. (134 x 163 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired in 1913
    Inv. no 742

    Steen uses what is ostensibly a celebration of the baptism of the baby at center as an occasion to demonstrate the effects of errant adult behavior on impressionable youngsters. An elderly woman holds a sheet of paper containing the words to a popular proverb, referenced in the painting’s title. Steen playfully portrays himself as the figure teaching the boy to smoke. Thematic symbols punctuate the composition: the bagpiper suggests the “copycat piping” mentioned in the proverb (the instrument connoted indolence and debauchery), the foot warmer and oysters have erotic associations, and the parrot implies mimicry.

  • Painting of a woman looking over her shoulder and wearing a headdress and a large pearl earring.

    Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)
    Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665
    Oil on canvas
    17 ½ x 15 3/8 in. (44.5 x 39.0 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Bequest of Arnoldus des Tombe, 1903
    Inv. no 670

    The girl’s features may have been inspired by a live model, but her identity is unknown. Many subjects have been suggested, including the artist’s eldest daughter, but none of these proposals has been widely embraced. The painting belongs to a distinctly Dutch subcategory of portraiture known as the tronie. Tronies depict idealized faces or exaggerated expressions and often feature exotic trappings, like the turban and enormous earring worn by the girl. More »


    Detail of Girl with a Pearl Earring  during varnish removal and before retouching

  • A landscape painting of sunlit yellow fields and various buildings. White clouds fill the sky.

    Jacob van Ruisdael (1628?–1682)
    View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds, c. 1670–75
    Oil on canvas
    21 7/8 x 24 3/8 in. (55.5 x 62.0 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired in 1827
    Inv. no 155

    Landscape paintings, first produced as independent subjects in Flanders during the sixteenth century, matured and flourished during the Golden Age. Here, Ruisdael creates a paean to both the sun-drenched countryside and the city’s valued linen industry. Although he alters some topographical features to suit his vision, the flat topography of the lowlands is recognizable, as are many of the buildings, including the imposing Cathedral of Saint Bavo. The painting belongs to a category known as Haerlempjes (little views of Haarlem).

  • A painting showing a seated young woman who shields he nearly nude body with her arms.

    Rembrandt van Rijn  (1606-1669)
    Susanna, 1636
    Oil on panel
    18 5/8 x 15 ¼ in. (47.4 x 38.6 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired by Prince William V, 1768
    Inv. no. 147

    As related in the Book of Daniel, the virtuous Susanna is spied on, while bathing, by a pair of Babylonian elders. In this superlative portrayal of human emotion, the anguished heroine looks toward us with tear-filled eyes and reddened nose as she shields her naked body. Rembrandt’s masterful handling of paint alternates between extravagantly encrusted layers to model Susanna’s figure and thinly painted portions to describe the background.

  • Painting of a man who wears a dark hat with a large feather, dark clothing.

    Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
    “Tronie” of a Man with a Feathered Beret, c. 1635-40
    Oil on panel
    24 5/8 x 18 ½ in. (62.5 x 47 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired by Prince William V, 1768
    Inv. no. 149

    Although sometimes mistaken for a self-portrait, this picture was not intended to represent a specific person. Head studies known as tronies allowed artists to freely experiment with facial expressions, costumes, and lighting effects. Like his contemporaries, Rembrandt often employed his own features when creating these studies, which were sold on the open market. This eclectic costume is not indicative of seventeenth-century Dutch fashion but instead represents the whimsical product of Rembrandt’s imagination.

  • A seated elderly woman who holds a pillow on her lap to assist her lace making.

    Nicolaes Maes (1634–1693)
    The Old Lacemaker, c. 1655
    Oil on panel
    14 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (37.5 x 35 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired in 1994 with the support of the Friends of The Mauritshuis Foundation, the VSB Foundation The Hague and the Rembrandt Society
    Inv. no. 1101

    Pictures inspired by daily life, or genre scenes, were extremely popular in the seventeenth century. Writers and moralists praised domestic activities, believing that such labors kept women from idleness. The home was the married woman’s domain, and a well-ordered household reflected a wife’s virtue. Thus the lacemaker’s kitchen — with its neatly gathered twigs, gleaming earthenware, and stacked kindling placed carefully on the table — suggests she is an exemplar of virtuous female conduct.

  • A human skull, a timepiece, a blue ribbon, an oil lamp and a stack of paper on a table.

    Pieter Claesz (1596/97–1660)
    Vanitas Still Life, 1630
    Oil on panel
    15 ½ x 22 in. (39.5 x 56 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Acquired in 1960 with the support of the Openbaar Kunstbezit Foundation and the Rembrandt Society
    Inv. no. 943

    The vanitas  image is a reminder of life’s brevity and the worthlessness of material objects. Nevertheless, one cannot resist savoring Claesz’s rendering of the glittering timepiece with its glossy ribbon, the reflections on the snuffed oil lamp and overturned glass, the brittle pages, and the jagged fractures and crevices of the skull.

  • Five apricots on a tabletop. The green leaves of the fruit are speckled with insect holes.

    Adriaen Coorte (active c. 1683–1707)
    Still Life with Five Apricots, 1704
    Oil on canvas
    11 7/8 x 9 ¼ in. (30 x 23.5 cm)
    Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Anonymous gift, 2006
    Inv. no. 1154

    Unlike many of his contemporaries who painted still lifes filled with precious wares and expensive delicacies, Coorte preferred common objects and simple compositions. In a possible nod to the vanitas genre, many of his pictures feature perishable items such as are seen here. A speckling of insect holes apparent on two of the crisp leaves also suggests this theme.

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