On view exclusively at CMA, Life in the Age of Rembrandt is the first collaborative project stemming from an ongoing international partnership between CMA and the Dordrecht Museum, The Netherlands. The goal of this partnership is to celebrate the remarkable treasures of both museums while broadening perspectives and cultivating a global view of community. Life in the Age of Rembrandt showcases some 90 works, including 40 paintings, many paired with a related object such as a print, a coin, Delft ware, or silver.
Called the cradle of the Golden Age, Dordrecht is steeped in European Old World traditions, art, and history and is the oldest incorporated port city in Holland. Dordrecht Museum is one of the oldest and most important fine art museums in the country. Spanning over three centuries, Life in the Age of Rembrandt features 17th-century art from the Golden Age of Dutch painting, and concludes with works of The Hague School of the late 19th century. The Dutch Golden Age (17th century) was a period of great wealth for the Dutch Republic, including Dordrechts. As international trade blossomed, cities and citizens grew in wealth and prominence. The influence of the Golden Age is still visible in Dordrecht’s many mansions, canals, churches, city walls and harbors.
Art and science blossomed during this time as well. The majority of works in Life in the Age of Rembrandt were executed in the 17th century or Northern Baroque period, during which time Dutch painting’s most famous master Rembrandt was active. In Dordrechts and elsewhere, 17th century Dutch art was a mirror of daily life in Holland. The so-called “little masters” specialized in specific types of subjects such as portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes or depictions of everyday life. These paintings were owned by members of Holland’s prosperous middle class, and rarely included overtly religious subjects, since the dominant Calvinist faith in Holland prohibited images of Biblical figures in churches. However, secular paintings were often lled with hidden religious ormoralizing meanings.