To what extent are paintings of ‘everyday life’ straightforward representations?
Often what appears to be a realistic scene conceals a moral message. Perhaps the message is about love or good behaviour. The figures may be playing roles and certain everyday objects bearing a symbolic meaning.
Such scenes were painted by numerous artists in a variety of styles. And they featured both rich and poor people.
This story considers aspects of one of the most distinctive – and controversial – classes of Dutch painting. In particular it looks at what they depict and what messages such scenes may have conveyed.
The contrasting styles of these paintings is also discussed.