Exploring the rich variety of pictorial rhetoric in early modern northern European genre images, this volume deepens our understanding of genre's place in early modern visual culture. From 1500 to 1700, artists in northern Europe pioneered the category of pictures now known as genre, portrayals of people in ostensibly quotidian situations. Critical approaches to genre images have moved past the antiquated notion that they portray uncomplicated 'slices of life,' describing them instead as heavily encoded pictorial essays, laden with symbols that only the most erudite contemporary viewers and modern iconographers could fully comprehend. These essays challenge that limiting binary, revealing a more expansive array of accessible meanings in genre's deft grafting of everyday scenarios with a rich complex of experiential, cultural, political, and religious references. Authors deploy a variety of approaches to detail genre's multivalent relations to older, more established pictorial and literary categories, the interplay between the meaning of the everyday and its translation into images, and the multifaceted concerns genre addressed for its rapidly expanding, unprecedentedly diverse audience.
"The essays collected in this book all make contributions to ongoing scholarly debates concerning the nature and reception of genre imagery in early modern Northern Europe."
- CAA Reviews
"Arthur J. DiFuria's edited volume offers a welcome and important collection of new viewpoints on the origins of these pictures and their social functions within early modern culture. Notably, it aims to move beyond the interpretive binary of genre images as either 'slices of life'� or 'repositories of "disguised symbols,"' especially prevalent in the study of Netherlandish art, in search of more nuanced interpretations."
- Historians of Netherlandish Art
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Preface and Acknowledgements
1 Genre: Audience, Origins, and Definitions
Arthur J. DiFuria
2 The Value of Play in Early Genre Painting: Lucas van Leyden’s Card Games
3 Moralizing Dialogues on the Northern Market Economy: Women’s Directives in Sixteenth-Century Genre Imagery of the Antwerp Marketplace
4 Jacques Jordaens’s Twelfth Night Politics
5 For the Pleasure and Contentment of the Audience: Gerrit van Honthorst’s The Merry Fiddler: Promoting Civil Behavior in Early Seventeenth-Century Utrecht
Sheila D. Muller
6 Adriaen van de Venne’s Cavalier at a Dressing Table: Masculinity and Parody in Seventeenth-Century Holland
7 Rembrandt and "Everyday Life": The Fusion of Genre and History
8 The Rustic Still Life in Dutch Genre Painting: Bijwerck dat Verclaert
Alison M. Kettering