An Inner World, the exhibition co-curated by Lara Yeager-Crasselt of the Leiden Collection and Heather Gibson Moqtaderi, Assistant Director and Associate Curator of the Arthur Ross Gallery, features exceptional paintings by seventeenth-century Dutch artists working in or near the city of Leiden, including nine paintings from the Leiden Collection (New York) and one painting from the Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, MA). Ten rare seventeenth-century books drawn from the collection of University of Pennsylvania's Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts expand the intellectual and cultural contexts of the exhibition. Works by Gerrit Dou, Gabriel Metsu, Domenicus van Tol, Willem van Mieris, and Jacob Toorenvliet demonstrate how these artists developed a sustained interest in an inner world-figures in interior spaces, and in moments of contemplation or quiet exchange, achieved through their meticulous technique of fine painting.
In this lavishly illustrated catalogue, essays penned by specialists in the field of early modern Dutch painting illuminate the exhibition's themes and lesser known artists, and shed new light on the fijnschilders, or fine painters, of Leiden. Yeager-Crasselt's essay explores the central themes of An Inner World through the lens of Leiden as a university city and Dutch artists' interests in the illusionism of space, candlelight, and painted surfaces. Shira Brisman examines the use of candlelight in seventeenth-century paintings and its role as a source of illumination as well as an indicator of the larger issue of the wax trade and the "outer world" of commerce. Last, Eric Jorink reflects on the confluence of art, science, and religion in the Dutch Golden Age.