Excellent essay; very instructive.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend the wonderful film "Rembrandt's J'accuse" by Peter Greenaway. He methodically dissects the messages concealed in his famous painting The Night Watch, using forensic analysis, a college lecture format with his disembodied face, interviews, and live action recreations of real or imagined scenes. (There is also a companion film with a more strsightfoward dramatic narrative called Nightwatching.) Its a cinematic masteroiece

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My absolute favorite painters are Dutch INCLUDING Van Gogh!

For a realistic look on domestic/everyday life, you can't beat a painting from the Golden Era of Dutch art.

They didn't have photographs back then, of course, so artists like de Hooch gave us a loving look at home life during his lifetime. Thank you for sharing his paintings and life story!

What fascinated me, were the beds! The Dutch are a practical people, that's why these "box beds" were VERY practical and yet beautiful. (do NOT ask me how they changed the bedding!!)

I remember reading a story (when I was VERY young, of course) about people who lived in Scandinavia, and their beds were enclosed in a cupboard. (They're called Box Beds) https://scandinavianfolk.blogspot.com/2013/01/obsession-scandinavian-box-beds.html

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de Hooch's name and some of his work were already familiar to me, though I'd not anchored the connection between the two in my mind. So I both knew the name, and recognized several of the paintings, but didn't associate the one with the other.

I tend to think of Reubens as Dutch, though of course he was Flemish. In fairness, though, the distinction was not fully settled back then, as the 80 years war (the Dutch Rebellion from the Spanish empire) was still very much in vogue. (And "vogue" is the proper term. Every time they negotiated a treaty, the sudden drop in spending led to an economic depression, so they stirred up a hot war once again.) France inserted themselves occasionally in an effort to conquer the Brabant, but they didn't want the French there either and became Belgium instead.

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I always learn something from you. Especially loved this one.

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