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Light and Life: Italian and Dutch Paintings 1600s to 1800s

Ulster Museum Runs until 28 May 2018

This display includes some of the finest Italian and Dutch paintings in the Ulster Museum collection, and explores the use of light in the depiction of religious and secular subjects. During the 1600s, many painters were influenced by the dramatic effects of light and shade pioneered by Caravaggio in Rome. This new style of painting, now called the Baroque, used light in a highly theatrical way to increase the power and impact of religious subjects. The theatricality of the Baroque style was also used to enliven secular or ‘genre’ scenes of everyday life. These subjects were popular with Dutch artists who visited Rome during the 1600s to study Italian painting, and were also attracted to the light and everyday life of the Italian countryside. Artists continued to travel to Italy in the 1800s, and the English painter JMW Turner made some of his most atmospheric and light-filled paintings in Venice.

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