Research point Research the work of the Dutch realist genre painters and choose two or three paintings that particularly appeal to you. Find out what you can about the artist and their intentions. Look at the devices employed by the painter to draw the viewer into the experience of the occupants of the room. Look at interiors that have been painted by various artists from different periods. Look especially at how illusions of space have been created, how doorways and windows form a part of the composition and how furniture and objects are depicted either as a central focus for the painting or as secondary to any human drama.


Pieter de Hooch (1629-83)

The painting I chose to look at by this artist is “Courtyard of a house in Delft” 1658.


The light has been captured so well, the choice of colours really showing the woman and child are in daylight whilst the other woman is in shadow in a passageway.  The light again showing daylight at the end of the passage. The painting is almost divided in half by the brick wall on one side of the arch, but this divides the happy scene of the woman and child (their faces lit by the daylight)with the sad/pensive scene of the woman in the shadows(we cant see her face but she is standing looking out into the light). Both figures are framed in their settings drawing more attention to them, the happy pair by the wall and some wood at an angle forming a frame and the sombre woman in the archway and shadow.  The brickwork on the floor has fab perspective lines drawing us into the picture.

I wrote all the above not having read any discription of the picture, I now discover that the woman with the child is a servant…presumably therefore the woman in the passage is the childs mother ?

Gerard Houckgeest (1600-1661)

This artist specialised in “imaginery” church interiors of a very complex nature


There is an incredible amount of detail in this painting. The light coming in from the left hitting the tiled floor and the arches illuminates the people within.  the right hand side of the picture takes the viewer into the corridor of arches and the colours fade the further in we go being a use of aerial perspective.  Not a picture I warm to at all, but admire for the patience it must have taken to accomplish.


Frans Hals (1580 1666)

I started looking at Frans Halls and a thought struck me that everyone in his paintings looks happy 🙂 Almost all his portraits the sitter appears to be smiling or laughing, looking jauntily over their shoulders.  Its almost like a string of selfies!  I then found it was he who did The Laughing Cavalier!  He must have been great company as his sitters all seem so relaxed.

I particularly liked…….the pic below.


Willem van Heythuysen c.1638


The casual pose of this feels almost like a snapshot as the chair would surely not stay at that angle for more than a second or two. There is more context in this portrait than the close ups above. The colours of the surrounding room and furnishings are in the same area as his clothes which means that his face stands out and he looks as if he might be in conversation with the artist, swinging back and forth on his chair.  One part of the painting that feels odd to me is the swathe of curtain in the top corner, the position doesn’t feel right.





Reflection at point of submitting for assessment ……this is definitely a point at which I became more confident writing about paintings, I started to write more freely and from the gut here, and it was a big step forward for my research.