The experience of a person today who views paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other Dutch Old Masters differs radically from the experience of the Dutch man or woman who may have seen the same paintings three centuries ago. This is an exploration of the way in which paintings were displayed and comprehended in 17th-century Holland. It offers many insights into life in the Dutch Golden Age as well as ways of interpreting the paintings of this period. Klaske Muizelaar and Derek Phillips closely examine how paintings reflected and influenced the domestic and imaginative lives of the Dutch people, particularly in Amsterdam. They consider men and women as the producers, subjects and viewers of art, uncovering 17th-century assumptions about the nature of men and women, ideals of sexually appropriate conduct, and actual sexual practices. The work concludes with an examination of what is altered when works that were created for viewing in the home become museum objects.