An extraordinary number of fine painters emerged in the Netherlands
during the 17th century; all, however, were surpassed by Rembrandt, who was in turn surpassed by Vincent Van Gogh in the 19th century.
Rembrandt's early works were influenced by Caravaggio; his later paintings display his incomparable chiaroscuro technique and psychological profundity. Other Dutch artists were Frans Hals, who, like Rembrandt, painted group portraits; and Jacob van Ruisdael, who did magnificent landscapes. Numerous "little Dutch masters" excelled in genre scenes, portrayals of everyday life that delighted the newly rising middle classes, who were becoming art patrons. Foremost among these painters was Jan Vermeer, whose paintings, although small in actual size, give a sense of ordered space and are, above all, masterpieces of the effect of light.