CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The Art of Laughing. Humour in the Golden Age

11 November 2017 - 18 March 2018

The Art of Laughing. Humour in the Golden Age

Exhibition: 11 November 2017 - 18 March 2018

Rarely have there been more humoristic paintings produced than in the Dutch Golden Age. Prosperity and a new buyer public encouraged artists to devise a huge variety of visual jokes. Naughty children, silly farmers, foolish dandies and tipplers, quacks, matchmakers, lazy maidservants and merry ladies – they all performed in large numbers in the showpieces of the Golden Age. The humor caught in the art works must have been easy to recognize for contemporaries. But now, a couple of centuries later, the visual jokes are not always that easy to unravel.

In the past fifteen years in particular, much new research was done and we are starting to gain insight into the full width and depth of 17th century visual jokes. For the very first time, this exhibition shows an overview of humor in 17th century painting. The presentation encompasses approximately sixty showpieces from home and abroad by artists such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Gerrit van Honthorst and Judith Leyster.

The exhibition is curated by Anna Tummers in cooperation with Elmer Kolfin.