The Dutch painters not only introduce Italian’s characteristic landscapes as a subject in painting, but also use them as an atmospheric backdrop for representations of the lives of the poorer in society. Although these are by no means realistic, but rather idealized everyday scenes, they are conceived from the observation on nature. In fact, the guiding principle “naer het leven, uit den gheest” applies to Dutch painting in general. Freely translated, this means that nature and reality serve as a model, but will be adapted for the making of pictures.
Pieter van Laer (c. 1592/99-1642), who lived in Rome at the same time as Jan Miel, is considered the inventor of this form of genre painting. His alias Bamboccio (“scraper doll”) also lent its name to this new genre, the Bambocciate or Bamboccian painting. Pieter van Laers artistic influence on his fellow countryman Jan Miel is evident in the painting Dance in the Trattoria.