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Photographer's Note

Yesterday evening we attended an exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts dedicated to “Class Distinctions: Dutch Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer.”

Organized by the museum, this groundbreaking exhibition proposes a new approach to understanding 17th-century Dutch painting. Through 75 carefully selected, beautifully preserved portraits, genre scenes, landscapes and seascapes borrowed from European and American public and private collections — including masterpieces never before seen in the United States — the show reflects, for the first time, the ways in which paintings represent the various socioeconomic groups of the new Dutch Republic, from the Princes of Orange to the most indigent.

Class distinctions had meaning and were expressed in the type of work depicted (or the lack thereof), costumes, a figure’s comportment and behavior, and his physical environment. Arranged according to 17th-century ideas about social stratification, paintings by artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch and Gabriel Metsu, are divided broadly into three classes—upper, middle and lower. Nobles, merchants, and milkmaids are among the figures in the thematic groupings, reflecting the social order of the new Dutch Republic. Although there were only two small paintings by Vermeeer, and an equal number by Rembrandt, their names were the most important in the collection of 17th-century Dutch artists — hence the name of the exhibition.

The two young people appear standing at the door stoop, ready to enter the world of the Dutch Golden Age, the 17th century. The featured painting seen here is the “Street Musicians at the Door,” painted in 1665 by Jacob Ochtervelt. For the spontaneous snapshot I used my iPhone 6 Plus. I am placing this shot in the group theme Pictures at an Exhibition II, where I welcome others "to hang" photos with similar themes.

The foregoing information is from the website of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MFA. The boy in the yellow shirt appeared eight years ago in Young Connoisseur I, and both children appeared 4 1/2 years ago in Young Connoisseurs.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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