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Double Dutch: the secret language of Dutch still-life Lynne Gibson Wednesday 08 May 2019

The merchants of seventeenth century Holland filled their town houses with paintings. A favourite subject was scenes of everyday life: depicting behaviour both good … and bad. But these upright Calvinist citizens rejected Catholic Baroque melodrama. They wanted nothing to alarm the in-laws or corrupt the children. Innocent objects hint at adult themes: plucked chickens and lap dogs, lutes and virginals, oysters and artichokes, foot warmers and bed warmers. This is a world of subtle hints and double-entendre, spoken through a language of symbols, emblems and motifs. Join me to explore the hidden meanings in everyday scenes and become a fluent reader of ‘Double Dutch’