AH30300 Genre Painting in the Age of Vermeer

Academic Year 2019/2020

This module will trace the evolution of genre imagery in Dutch art, from its roots in 15th- and 16th-century printmaking and the peasant caricatures of Pieter Bruegel, to its apogee in the refined interior spaces of Vermeer, Ter Borch, and Metsu. Lectures will focus on key practitioners, groups of related artists such as the Leiden fine painters and the Utrecht Caravaggisti, as well as socio-economic and contextual themes. Issues to be explored include contemporary reception and interpretation, the role of the art market in the production of paintings, and the extent to which these scenes of everyday life are reflective of actual domestic practices in the Dutch Republic of the 17th century. Visits to the National Gallery of Ireland will form an essential part of this course.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Identify major works of Dutch genre art from the 17th century and account for the essential developments in this category of painting;
2. Place significant genre paintings from this period in their political, cultural and economic contexts;
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of the production and marketing of art during the period;
4. Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of relevant 17th-century sources, which have a bearing on genre art, as well as present-day critical responses, such as the debates around meaning and interpretation.

Indicative Module Content:

Introduction; Genre painters and the Market; the Roots of Genre Art; Conflicting Views: the interpretation of genre paintings; Early developments in Amsterdam and Haarlem; Precision and Polish: the Leiden Fine Painters; Whores, Bawds and Fiddlers: the Utrecht Caravaggisti; Frans Hals and Painting in Haarlem; Pieter de Hooch and Images of Domesticity; Rembrandt and Genre Art; A Taste for High Life: Gerard ter Borch; Genre Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland; Humour in Dutch Art; Vermeer I: ways of seeing; Vermeer II: the representation of women; Master Storyteller: Jan Steen; the Aristocratisation of Genre Painting; Vermeer on Film; Fin de Siècle: a decline?

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is largely a lecture-led module. It will look at key developments in Dutch genre painting from a variety of perspectives. While object-focused, the module seeks to situate these works fully in the time and place in which they were created. Students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the burgeoning literature on the subject and to become aware of changing perceptions and critical debates. At least one class will take place in the National Gallery of Ireland. Assessment is by means of a short essay or assignment and an end-of-trimester examination. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AH10070 - Dublin: Its Museums

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Essay in lieu of the end-of-trimester exam originally scheduled. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Essay: Essay Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

You will receive detailed written feedback on your essay or assignment. Subsequently, you can discuss your essay and examination performance with the lecturer.

Name Role
Ms Carla Briggs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Thurs 15:00 - 16:50