The collection of seventeenth century paintings on display for the first time in Korea at the National Museum of Art, Deoksugung commemorates 350 years of the Dutch - Korean relations beginning in 1653 with the ship wreck of Hendrick Hamel off the coast of Jeju Island.
In this exhibition, the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, often nicknamed "the greatest of the world's small museums", presents a selection of both Dutch and Flemish paintings from one of the most beautiful and impressive collections of Dutch seventeenth century paintings anywhere in the world.
The fame of Dutch painting is largely based on its Masters of the so-called Golden Age. In spite of its modest geographical size, the Dutch Republic spawned a remarkable number of artists in the seventeenth-century. In course of time several of them, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen, have become world famous. However, the superb quality and great diversity of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings were only partially determined by these luminaries. Countless other artists, who for the most part specialized in a particular genre, were equally responsible for the flowering of Dutch painting in the Golden Age. Most genres made their first, tentative appearance in the sixteenth century and only blossomed in the seventeenth, especially in the Northern Netherlands. The genres can be divided into five main groups: history painting, portraits, still life, depictions of everyday life and landscape.
The scope of this exhibition is to invite the visitor to study and compare the different specializations, and to discover the enormous variety and wealth of Dutch paintings of the Golden Age. The choice of works will, hopefully, convey the qualities so characteristic of this period whether it is your first encounter or a renewed acquaintance with the old master paintings of the seventeenth century when art and trade flourished at an unprecedented pace.