"Clear, solid, palpable"this is the world of the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century, a world in which the surfaces and scenes of everyday life are rendered with impeccable care and illuminated by clear, soft light. Through
the countless reproductions of the works of painters like de Hooch and Vermeer, these scenes have become intimately familiar: servants at their kitchen chores; women reading, daydreaming, or playing music; risque and often riotous scenes in bedrooms or inns. Jan Steen's The Drawing Lesson is one of the finest and most intriguing examples of the art of the Netherlands in its Golden Age. Through the interior Steen creates is familiar, the subjecta celebration of the art of the painteris unusual and only subtly announced.
In this fascinating exploration of The Drawing Lesson, John Walsh offers an explanation of the individual parts and larger patterns of the work, allowing us to see how each prop and pose contribute to the larger themethe art of painting and the education of the artist. He also recounts Steen's career and a history of the picture itself, presenting, in sum, not only an examination of a fine painting but a lesson in how to look at and "read" a complex work of art.
John Walsh is director emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Previously, he was curator of paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He is the author of The J. Paul Getty Museum and Its Collections with Deborah Gribbon.
Series: Getty Museum Studies on Art