The Golden for gthe Dutch turned to dross. Jan de Witt and his brother met an inglorious end: Cornelius was thrown down the stairs of his prsion room and beaten with clubs and stabbed with pikes. Jan was beaten and shot, the madmen drunk with bloodshead, danced on the bodies which were finally hung up , feet first on a lamppost, mutilated and cut to pieces by those desiring a bloody relic.
It was an indication of the savagery that Dutch society still contained; Spinoza, saddened, called it ultimi barbarorum. De Witt was the last Dutch statesman to meet such an end at the hands of his countrymen. In that respect, his system for peace and the patrician code triumphed.
( Above):An entire family, grouped in front of portraits of ancestors that were probably painted by Frans Hals but are now lost, has gathered for an at-home recital in another work by Jan Miense Molenaer. In addition to the theme of music, with its evanescence, certain details point to the fleetingness of time and the brevity of life: the soap bubbles blown by the boy, the clock on the wall, and even, indeed, the ancestral portraits.
above: Outside an imposing country house, the ladies and gentlemen above are playing a game of skittles in this Pieter de Hooch painting. The year is 1665 and the place near Amsterdam, where de Hooch was then working. Throughout the turbulent Dutch Golden Age the home remained the tranquil focus of family life wherein the Dutch too their pleasures: reading books, drinking gin or beer, wine or tea; making music. Genre painters like de Hooch depicted these domestic scenes for their bourgeois patrons, compiling a comprehensive record of everyday life in the years of their country’s greatest glory.