This exhibition is dedicated to the life and works of Nicolaes Maes (1634-93), whose paintings capture life during the Dutch golden age of the 17th-century.
Maes was born in the city of Dordrecht, but soon moved to Amsterdam where he trained to become a painter under the guidance of the famous Rembrandt. Maes started out by painting stories from the bible, but quickly developed his own style of painting scenes from everyday life.
You’ll notice that many of Maes’s paintings such as his ‘Two chattering housewives’ are of women carrying out household chores, reflecting the view that the role of women was to do domestic jobs. Maes also liked to paint pictures of evesdroppers, and you’ll see that many of his paintings are of children secretly listening to adult conversations. In this sense, Maes was unique, as no other artist had painted these kinds of domestic scenes in such detail. From the 1660s onwards, Maes changed his style again by dedicating the rest of his career to portrait-painting, and by the end of his career he had painted nearly 900 portraits.
The National Gallery presents nearly 50 of Maes’s paintings and drawings, giving you the chance to follow his journey from an unknown painter in Amsterdam to one of the most successful Dutch artists of all time.