Proud of the economic success of their new nation, 17th century Dutch society placed great emphasis on the domestic environment and comforts of the home. Prosperous citizens decorated their homes with paintings and other luxury items.
Many of the paintings in this room depict ideas important to 17th-century Dutch citizens. Views of the local landscape, for example, were seen to illustrate an aspect of national identity. Artists often set moralising themes, such as the critique of vice or the praise of virtue, in contemporary domestic interiors to make these messages more relevant to their original audience.
Depicting domestic interiors or courtyards also gave artists the opportunity to display their skills in rendering light, reflection and perspective. Painters working in Delft from the mid-1650s, such as Pieter de Hooch, were particularly accomplished in this type of imagery.