Gerard ter Borch
A Closer Look
Genre in art represents what life is like in a particular place and time. If an artist came to your art class and painted you and your classmates working on your artwork, this would be a contemporary genre painting. Artists throughout history have documented those around them. As an activity, consider painting your friends or family doing something they enjoy.
About the Painting
The Horse Stable shows a scene in the life of a prosperous middle-class family in 17th century Holland. At that time, well-to-do people cherished their horses and other domesticated animals. Besides being useful, the animals were outward signs of wealth, just as fancy cars are today. Most of Gerard ter Borch's paintings, like The Horse Stable, are small and show two or three standing figures doing something together. He was good at showing the psychological interaction between his subjects, leaving you asking yourself, "What are they thinking or talking about?"
About the Artist
Gerard ter Borch was one of the most skillful painters of Holland's Golden Age, the 17th century. His father was a well-known painter who encouraged him to become an artist. When he was fifteen, Borch left home and traveled around Europe, working for the king of Spain and other wealthy art lovers. In 1650 he returned to Holland and began to paint his favorite subject--the lives and customs of affluent Dutch families.
Write About It
- Make a list of what you see.
- How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
- What do you think the painting means? How does it make you feel?
- Select two paintings to compare & contrast.