The Letter by Ter Borch

THE DUTCH school of painters of the seventeenth century is noted for the records it has given us of the lives of the people of the upper-middle class of its day. As the Venetian painter, Moroni, supplemented with portraits of the middle class that record of Venetian nobility which other painters of his time so generously supplied, so has Ter Borch completed for posterity the record of the Holland of his day and of his class.

He was, of all Dutch painters of his century, the most cultivated and refined. His horizon was limited by a life spent in the company of the aristocrats and the wealthy. If he knew anything about the existence of his less fortunate contemporaries, the peasants and tradesmen who worked hard and relaxed violently and obscenely, certainly he was careful in his painting to turn his eye the other way. His subjects are all well-mannered, charming people. Their gestures have a narrow scope. Their dignity is always carefully guarded. Never do they "let down their hair."
Ter Borch was the scion of a distinguished family and devoted his art to copying that fraction of the life of his times to which he was born and below which he never stooped.

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