17th century Dutch art is known for its appearance of lifelikeness. Rembrandt and Hals painted un-idealised portraits; Ruisdael and Hobbema depicted local landscapes; Vermeer and Steen represented ordinary people; and Kalf and Van Huysum brought objects and flowers to life through illusion. At the same time, Dutch painting is equally well-known for its symbolism and moralising. This day school will discuss how we may understand ‘reality’ in paintings.