Manchester Art Gallery

Interior with Peasants and School Children

Object description

Interior scene depicting French peasants in a large open room. They are pictured sitting together, talking and laughing. To the right of the painting a child is being chastised by a man and woman.b The interior setting they are in is a dark room in shadow with wooden carved skirting on the walls.

Display label

Home, Land and Sea Art in the Netherlands 1600-1800 During the 1600s, the Netherlands underwent significant political change. The mainly Protestant provinces in the north fought for independence from Catholic Spanish rule. This struggle, known as the Eighty Years War, only ended in 1648, when the northern provinces were formally recognised as the independent Dutch Republic. The 1600s was a period of such great prosperity, scientific discovery and artistic creativity for the Dutch Republic that it became the most important country in Europe. The Republic controlled the seas through its formidable navy, and lucrative international trade networks. This increased the nation’s wealth, especially amongst the mercantile classes. With their independence came a newfound sense of identity and national pride which found expression through the arts. Dutch artists found new subjects in the life around them: the domestic lives of women, the broad plains of the local landscape, ships on turbulent seas and still lifes of luxury goods. Many cities including Amsterdam, Delft, Haarlem and Leiden became major artistic centres with talented artists producing works for the growing art market.