Synopses & Reviews
From peasant fairs and carnival celebrations to lavish al fresco parties, processions and civic guard banquets, the Netherlands in the seventeenth century was a golden age of partying. Celebrating the Golden Age provides a pageant of people making merry through the eyes of Dutch masters Esaias van de Velde, Dirck Hals, Willem Buytewech, Jan Miense Molenaar, Frans Hals and Jan Steen, who was perhaps the ultimate painter of these festivities. This volume brings to life the painted party, with scenes of celebration at weddings, elegant garden parties, carnivals, Twelfth Night and May festivities, masquerades and family gatherings on Saint Nicholas' Eve. A series of essays explicates these narrative scenes: their often sly and humorous views of the values of their time, the role of alcohol and bawdy humor, the ways in which painters persuaded their subjects to pose and what costumes and gestures can reveal when the seventeenth century lets its hair down.