The young gentry at play

Northern Netherlandish scenes of merry companies 1610-1645

Elmer Kolfin

In the first half of the seventeenth century paintings of the rich and elegantly dressed urban young amusing themselves with courtship, music-making, drinking wine and playing tric-trac became extremely popular. This richly illustrated book examines the background of that popularity by combining iconographical research with the study of pictorial traditions, painting techniques, socio-economics, literature and book illustrations. The first part traces the sixteenth-century pictorial traditions that featured moralistic, idealistic and humorous variants of the merry company, mainly in prints. The second part shows that the seventeenth-century painters made deliberate iconographical and compositional changes to those traditions and developed new painting techniques and marketing strategies. The various meanings the paintings may have had for a contemporary audience is explored in the last part.

2005, 312 pag., 192 ill. bw, 14 ill. fc, pb
ISBN 978-90-5997-013-4


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