Scenes of Daily Life in the Works of Maes

Scenes of Daily Life in the Works of Maes
#Exhibitions

They say he was an astute businessman, but Nicolaes Maes made history as an artist who excelled in depicting vivacious scenes of daily life with a particular taste for showing the moments of weakness of humankind. The rich and well-documented exhibition at the National Gallery is an homage to one of the most important Dutch portraitists of the Golden Century, the XVII Century, bringing together 48 works, including paintings and drawings. Coming of age in the studio of Rembrandt, Maes was considered a pupil of the master himself. Rembrandt’s influence was evident in the paintings of his first period, mostly biblical and historical scenes highlighting his immense interest in exploring the portrayal of light. But it was his paintings inspired by daily life that brought Maes success. Within these paintings, there is often a figure content on spying, a veritable trait d’union between the action in one corner of the painting and the observer. One example is the famed The Eavesdropper of Apsley House where a maid is caught by her master in conversation with her lover. A universe rich in female figures, the world of Maes is demarcated by tailors and servants, travelling salesmen and professionals. There is a moral message at the root of his works that, in a carefree way, seeks to point out the virtues of domestic tasks and ridicule those who neglect them.
Silvia Sole - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London