Kwesties Van Betekenis: Thema En Motief in De Nederlandse Schilderkunst Van De Zeventiende Eeuw / Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine / Dutch Flower Painting 1600-1720 / and Others

By Chapman, H. Perry | The Art Bulletin, June 1997 | Go to article overview

Kwesties Van Betekenis: Thema En Motief in De Nederlandse Schilderkunst Van De Zeventiende Eeuw / Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine / Dutch Flower Painting 1600-1720 / and Others


Chapman, H. Perry, The Art Bulletin


Kwesties van betekenis: Thema en motief in de Nederlandse schilderkunst van de zeventiende eeuw

Leiden, The Netherlands: Primavera Pers, 1995. 284 pp.; 264 b/w ills. Dfl 69,90 paper

LAURINDA S. DIXON

Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine

Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press,

1995. 318 pp.; 8 color ills.,101 b/w.

$60.50; $24.75 paper

PAUL TAYLOR

Dutch Flower Painting 1600-1720

New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

240 pp.; 34 color ills., 99 b/w. $45.00

CELESTE BRUSATI

Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel van Hoogstraten

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. 428 pp.; 16 color ills.,164 b/w. $75.00

Nearly thirty years ago Eddy de Jongh wrote a bold article on the erotic content of 17thcentury Dutch genre paintings. "Erotica in vogelperspectief' (Erotica in bird's-eye view), the first essay in Kwesties van betekenis: The a en motief in de Nederlandse schilderkunst van de zeventiende eeuw (Questions of meaning: Theme and motif in Netherlandish painting of the seventeenth century), brought to light the many surprising ways in which seemingly decorous scenes of genteel life are often provocative and titillating. With dry wit de Jongh detailed the rich imagery of erotic euphemism: the bird seller with a cock or the hunter with the gift of a bird that play on the word vogelen (to bird), slang for copulation, the caged and uncaged birds referring to virginity or the lack thereof. To support his readings of these paintings, de Jongh marshaled an array of texts and prints, which in turn help to produce a picture of the broader cultural context for viewing these works. Further, he asked an important question that still puzzles us and him today: Just what is it about this society that led to the demand for so many pictures that stretch the limits of decorum or push at what he calls the schaamtegrens (border of shame)? In exploring this striking tolerance for vulgarity, de Jongh perhaps attended too little to differences in medium and temporal changes and thus minimized the significant shift from bawdy imagery early in the century to a later tendency, evident in the works of Gabriel Metsu, Jan Vermeer, Gerard ter Borch, and others, to channel a more sublimated sexuality into fine paintings. Unlike earlier images of prodigality and prostitution, which were outwardly risque, these refined, seemingly decorous pictures of uppermiddle-class subjects confound our expectations by presenting the low in high form.

"Erotica in vogelperspectief" was as tantalizing in its art historical method as in its subject matter, for it challenged with intelligence and substantial evidence the prevailing notion that Dutch genre paintings were essentially naturalistic, that they represented daily life accurately, as it was. At the same time, it proposed a new way of investigating the meaning of Dutch painting. This was one of the articles that positioned de Jongh at the fore in the iconographic study of 17th-century Dutch art: his contribution was to take Erwin Panofsky's method of iconographic and iconological interpretation, which had been applied to Renaissance history subjects, and demonstrate its usefulness as a means for understanding how the new kinds of secular genres mirrored the culture that produced them. Scenes from daily life, portraits, landscapes, and still lifes, too, were interpretable through pictorial and literary conventions of moralizing and emblematic meaning. Over the course of the next three decades de Jongh would prove to be one of the most important and influential interpreters of Dutch painting.

Recently, however, de Jongh has been so vilified in the critical debate over the nature of Dutch realism that his contribution and the importance of his approach have been obscured. In this debate, which was reductionist from the start, de Jongh's complex, often profound insights into the cultural embedment of Dutch art have been reduced to a notion of moralizing, and his methodology has come to embody old-fashioned iconography. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Kwesties Van Betekenis: Thema En Motief in De Nederlandse Schilderkunst Van De Zeventiende Eeuw / Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine / Dutch Flower Painting 1600-1720 / and Others
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.