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The Cover
February 21, 2001

A Boy Eating Porridge

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2001;285(7):850. doi:10.1001/jama.285.7.850

With few exceptions, in no other place and at no other time has there been such a concentration of artistic talent as in the tiny, fledgling 17th-century Republic of the United Netherlands. Lying almost exclusively in the western part of the country were at least 10 cities that, although geographically close, each had its own, artistically distinctive style as well as its own famous sons and daughters. Among the cities were Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Dordrecht, Deventer, Delft, Gouda, The Hague, and Middelburg. And although such names as Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, Steen, de Hooch, ter Borch, Metsu and Dou, Hobbema, Cuyp, van Ruisdael and van Kessel, Leyster and Ruysch may be familiar, they are only the beginning of a long list: the vast number of the artists who lived in that Golden Age are known only to specialists. Their names and their reputations have been eclipsed by the sheer brilliance of the period, their work often lost to misattributions to other, more well-known, artists. Not surprisingly, misattributions were common, so common that art historians of the 21st century are still sorting them out. Rembrandt attributions alone could occupy a scholar for a lifetime.

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