Room 22

Amsterdam and Dutch Painting 1650–1670

The 17th century proved an exciting and prosperous time for Amsterdam. Jacob van Ruisdael’s panoramic view of the city reveals a new world capital.

Dutch ships sailed from the port to North America, Indonesia, Brazil and Africa, forming new world trading networks. Amsterdam’s merchants – such as those looking down on us from Gerbrand van den Eeckhout’s group portrait – became the new patrons of art, replacing the Church and nobility.

Frans Post travelled to the Dutch colony of Brazil and on his return made a career painting finely detailed Brazilian landscapes. Philips Koninck and others conveyed the optimism of colonial times by depicting idealised, sometimes imaginary, views of the lands of the Dutch Republic. With great national pride in the country’s seafaring power, marine painting became popular.

Only Jan Steen adds a cautionary note in these plentiful times, with a warning about The Effects of Intemperance.