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17th century

Caravaggio, Rubens, Poussin, Van Dyck, Velázquez, Claude, Rembrandt, Cuyp, Vermeer

While some artists of this period looked to the art of the past for inspiration, they always imparted their own style, from the flamboyant to the austere. Religious subjects were treated in novel ways to engage the emotions of the viewer.

In the Netherlands, specialist painters of still lifes, landscapes and scenes of everyday life – from elegant social gatherings to lively scenes in taverns – enjoyed great popularity.

Next: 18th- to early 20th-century paintings

Velázquez, The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus'), 1647-51
Velázquez, The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus), 1647-51