This online gallery supports the Museum of Fine Arts exhibition Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the age of Rembrandt and Vermeer October 11, 2015-January 18, 2015.
Developing Writing with Dutch Genre Painting
The details and action within Dutch genre painting lend themselves to developing writing skills. Some 17th century Dutch genre paintings reveal the nuances of reality while other stories illustrate power and wealth. Some catch a moment in the day, almost photographic. Within each of the paintings, politics, social classes intermingle to reveal a multilayered and sensuous story.
Paintings became more commonplace across Dutch society. Once reserved for the wealthy or the church, the middle class also purchased landscapes, portraits, and genre paintings to hang in their homes. Genre paintings became popular between 1600-1650. They showed a broad sense of what Netherlands looked like and felt life from merry tavern scenes to quiet domestic interiors. Genre comes from the French and means type or variety. Today, it classifies types of paintings, such as landscapes or history paintings. Genre paintings depict moments from real life-taverns, domestic scenes, and occupations.
This lesson uses multiple genre paintings to illustrate a variety of writing skills including sensory words, dialogue, onomatopoetic words, and strory outlines. It can be be adapted for a variety of grade levels and to the needs of individual writers.
In exploring this lesson, students will:
-The depictions of three distinct social classes within Dutch society and the distribution of visual wealth between them
-A variety of 17th century jobs and occupations
-Political and social concerns within the cities of Harleem and Amsterdam
- Detailed accounts of 17th century Dutch life
This discovery will require students to:
-Look closely at the compositions and make observations based on visual evidence.
-Make connections between the visual art and the history that encompasses its creation
-Develop written accounts of visual art that include sensory details, dialogue, and narratives
Using this resource:
· History teachers and students will be interested in the 17th century Dutch history
· English teachers and students will be interested in the sensory detail imbedded within paintings which could then be translated into writing
· English teachers and students will be interested in using the visual images as story starters.
· Visual Art teachers and students will be interested in the composition of the works, layering details from the background to the foreground
Sources: Painting in the Dutch Golden Age: A profile of the Seventeenth Century –National Gallery of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston