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Dutch Golden Age Paintings
In the 17th century, Dutch painters often made art to display the wealth of their patrons, the people who hired them to paint. Frequently, these artists not only displayed someone's personal wealth but also demonstrated the wealth of the Netherlands as a nation and the extent of its trading empire. Often the Dutch, like other northern European artists, used paintings to convey religious messages in a more subtle way than Italian painters did, with their depictions of Mary, Jesus, and the saints. This painting below, which was created around 1625, does all of these things. Examine it closely. In the foreground, there is a cooked lobster on a plate. To the right, are wheels of cheese—and a cat trying to sneak into the painting. Next to and on top of the cheese are porcelain bowls filled with fruit, including a bowl of cherries. A sliced lemon is on a plate. A large parrot is perched above it all. There are other kinds of fruit on the table as well as other birds and animals—don't miss the squirrel at the far left. Pet squirrels were very popular at this time. When you have examined the picture closely, answer the following questions:
What do you see in the painting, in general, that indicates that the person who hired the painter is wealthy? How do these items indicate wealth?
What do you see in the painting that indicates that the painter is proud of the fact that much of the Netherlands' wealth comes from the sea? How does this object (or these objects) indicate this?
What do you see in the painting that indicates that the painter is proud of the fact that much of the Netherlands' wealth also comes from agriculture? How does this object (or these objects) indicate this?
The painter also wants to indicate that the Netherlands trades with the world.
What objects in the painting indicate that the Netherlands trades with East Asia (China, Japan)?
What object(s) in the painting indicates that the Netherlands trades with countries that border on the Mediterranean Sea?
What objects in the picture indicate that the Netherlands trades with South America?

 This painting also contains imagery that is intended to send a moralistic/religious message. How is the writer trying to indicate that life is fleeting? People should pay attention to their souls because wealth does not last and the living can die at any minute. How do these objects indicate that?
All of your answers must be based on what you see in the painting and only on what you see in the painting. Do not base your answer on secondary sources.

Expert Answer

Dutch Golden Age Paintings In the 17th century, Dutch painters often made art to display the wealth of their patrons, the people who hired them to paint. Frequently, these artists not only displayed someone's personal wealth but also demonstrated the wealth of the Netherlands as a nation and the extent of its trading empire. Often the Dutch, like other northern European artists, used paintings to convey religious messages in a more subtle way than Italian painters did, with their depictions of Mary, Jesus, and the saints. This painting below, which was created around 1625, does all of these things. Examine it closely. In the foreground, there is a cooked lobster on a plate. To the right, are wheels of cheese—and a cat trying to sneak into the painting. Next to and on top of the cheese are porcelain bowls filled with fruit, including a bowl of cherries. A sliced lemon is on a plate. A large parrot is perched above it all. There are other kinds of fruit on the table as well as other birds and animals—don't miss the squirrel at the far left. Pet squirrels were very popular at this time. When you have examined the picture closely, answer the following questions: What do you see in the painting, in general, that indicates that the person who hired the painter is wealthy? How do these items indicate wealth? What do you see in the painting that indicates that the painter is proud of the fact that much of the Netherlands' wealth comes from the sea? How does this object (or these objects) indicate this? What do you see in the painting that indicates that the painter is proud of the fact that much of the Netherlands' wealth also comes from agriculture? How does this object (or these objects) indicate this? The painter also wants to indicate that the Netherlands trades with the world. What objects in the painting indicate that the Netherlands trades with East Asia (China, Japan)? What object(s) in the painting indicates that the Netherlands trades with countries that border on the Mediterranean Sea? What objects in the picture indicate that the Netherlands trades with South America? This painting also contains imagery that is intended to send a moralistic/religious message. How is the writer trying to indicate that life is fleeting? People should pay attention to their souls because wealth does not last and the living can die at any minute. How do these objects indicate that? All of your answers must be based on what you see in the painting and only on what you see in the painting. Do not base your answer on secondary sources.

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