The 17th century was a period of great wealth and cultural achievement for the Dutch people. In what was then already called a Golden Age, the Netherlands was a world power whose military fleet was growing and where trade, science, and the arts flourished as never before. Of particular note, the pleasures of music and dancing were a fundamental part of life in both the Dutch Republic and the Southern Netherlands, as reflected in the strikingly high number of Dutch and Flemish paintings that include dancing figures, groups of musicians, and compositions of musical instruments.
This exhibition, custom-curated for the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College by the Hoogsteder Museum Foundation of The Netherlands, showcases 27 Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 17th century, selected and organized around the unifying visual theme of music and dance. All the Masterworks in the exhibition come to the Museum from private European Collections and have not been seen by the wide public before. Visitors will thus have the rare opportunity to see for themselves how brilliantly the Old Masters were able to capture the spirit of the Golden Age in their paintings, revealing in vivid color the insatiable Dutch appetite for singing songs, forming ensembles, and moving to melodies.