Dutch genre paintings of the seventeenth-century show individuals in domestic settings going about their daily activities, such as letter writing, eating and drinking, or making music. Many of these seemingly straightforward scenes, however, contain a moral lesson that is difficult for us to decipher today. This lecture will deal with the paintings' various levels of interpretation by focusing on examples drawn from the Mauritshuis collection, some of which are featured in the current special exhibition.
Edwin Buijsen has been Head of Collections at the Mauritshuis since 2008. Previously, he was Curator of Research and Technical Documentation at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD). He also was involved in the development of the Rembrandt Database, a joint initiative of the RKD and the Mauritshuis supported by the Museums and Art Conservation program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Buijsen has written books and articles on Dutch painting and drawing from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. He is currently working on a study on the Dutch seventeenth-century painter and poet Adriaen van de Venne.
Edwin Buijsen, Head of Collections at the Mauritshuis, illustrates how 'The Goldfinch' by Carel Fabritius is representative of an almost obsessive attention to everyday scenes and objects by 17th century Dutch master painters.