past exhibitions
The Golden Age of Painting, 1600–1800, from the Speed Art Museum
5.5.12 – 8.19.12

Charles Stewart Mott Wing

The Golden Age of Painting, 1600-1800, from the Speed Art Museum has been organized by the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Tremendous changes swept Europe between 1600 and 1800, the years in which the art in this exhibition was produced. Religious upheavals changed the way people thought about and utilized art. Trade routes to faraway lands, such as China, India, and the New World to the West, became more established, ensuring a steady stream of exotic goods for European consumers. Advances in the sciences transformed long-held views on the way the universe worked and the place of man within that universe. Technical aspects of art making were honed and codified, as art academies grew in number and power.

These exciting times resulted in a golden age of European painting. The number of artists and the number of art collectors grew exponentially during this period, as the fine arts reached an increasingly wider audience. The Golden Age of Painting features art from this remarkable era, with examples by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jacob van Ruisdael, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Pompeo Batoni, and Jan van Os. Highlighting work from Italy, France, Flanders, The Netherlands, Germany, and England, this exhibition illustrates how the changes in religion and science, coupled with the economic growth that swept Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, gave way to a period of prolific artistic creation.

Comprising the major genres of painting that were popular at this time—portraits, religious paintings, landscapes, scenes of everyday life, still lifes, and interpretations of classical antiquity—The Golden Age of Painting brings to light both the people and the objects that made the two centuries between 1600 and 1800 such a rich cultural age.
a bacchanal

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Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669
Portrait of a Forty-Year Old Woman, Possibly Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal
oil on panel, 1634
27.4375 x 22 inches
Collection of the Speed Art Museum, Purchased with funds contributed by individuals, corporations and the entire community of Louisville, as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1977.16


This exhibition is sponsored by

firstmerit bank     Whiting Foundation
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Flint Institute of Arts
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Flint, Michigan 48503
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American Alliance of Museums MemberCharles Stewart Mott FoundationMichigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs    
national endowment for the arts