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A lyrical exhibition exploring the depiction of music in 17th-century Dutch painting.

Through the paintings of Vermeer, De Hooch and others, this exhibition explores the musical past-times of wealthy families in 17th-century Netherlands. It reveals the intricate social signs associated with particular musical instruments and how music was intrinsic to everyday life in the Dutch Golden Age.

Exhibited alongside the paintings will be songbooks, lutes, guitars, virginals and other instruments from the era - the suggestion being that these were more than merely props for the sitter, but important social symbols indicating class, education and character. They also acted as a metaphor for the popular sentiments of the day, like harmony and chastity, revealing the significance of these ideals in the ideological constructs of the Dutch Republic.

National Gallery

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London, WC2N 5DN

020 7747 2885


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 6pm (Fri, 10am – 9pm) Closed 24 – 25 Dec and 1 Jan

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