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Throughout art history there have been several thematic and stylistic breaks: for example when in the fifteenth century, with the representation of the divine, breaks into painting the portrait of the individual. (See Tzvetan Todorov, «Elogio del individuo», Galaxia Gutenberg, 2006.) Another no less relevant is when in the seventeenth century Dutch painting, rather than historical, mythological or religious figures, paints are filled with topics everyday life. Suddenly it seems as though neither in painting nor in the world was no longer room for heroes or saints. The soldiers, who always embodied the heroic virtues par excellence, appear resting or drinking wine, playing cards, courting young ladies or sleeping. The painting becomes subject only to the existing and avoids the idealization and uplifting. Stop making to discover the beauty in what surrounds man. And look beautiful become what it is not.Why is this transformation? Why in the Netherlands? What deeper changes in European society it reflects? What does this teach us today that we live threatened by new forms of degradation of everyday life? Here are some of the questions facing Tzvetan Todorov in this book through the study of masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Metsu, Franz Hals, Gerard Dou and De Hooch among others.Another example of his expertise in discovering and explaining the large underground currents that move the history of human societies.