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Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age

22 February – 31 May 2020

Admission free

Location: Ground Floor Galleries

We are closed as a precautionary measure to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

We are planning to reopen on 4 May 2020, or as soon after when it is safe to do so.

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Share a knowing look with mischievous eavesdroppers and peer behind the doors of 17th-century Dutch households...

From illicit goings-on in servants’ quarters to portraits of high society, Nicolaes Maes captured life upstairs and downstairs in the Dutch Golden Age.

Starting his career as one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils, this exhibition – the first in the UK devoted to Maes – charts the artist’s rise to fame.

Through nearly 50 paintings and drawings, it follows Maes’s move away from paintings of historical and biblical scenes, where Rembrandt’s influence is most clear, to the scenes of everyday life and portraits that made him one of the most sought-after artists of his time.

Maes was an astute businessman, and produced over 900 portraits, adapting his style to reflect the high fashion and decoration of the second half of the 17th century. But it is his ‘genre’ scenes – which often feature the central character eavesdropping and breaking the fourth wall to interact directly with the viewer – which best reveal Maes’s inventive and distinct style.

Exhibition organised by the National Gallery, London and the Mauritshuis, The Hague

Image above: Nicolaes Maes, 'The Eavesdropper', 1655 © Harold Samuel Collection, Mansion House, London

Exhibition supported by

The Thompson Family Charitable Trust

 

The Sunley exhibition programme is supported by the Bernard Sunley Foundation

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His name may not be as familiar as his teacher's, Rembrandt, but Nicolaes Maes was one of the most versatile artists of his generation