Painting was a growth industry in the Low Countries already during the 15th and 16th centuries. In addition to the famous masters, a host of minor artists helped create an ever-widening market for paintings. Foreigners were astonished to see the numbers of paintings even in ordinary Dutch households. Market expansion went hand in hand with a widening range of products on offer. In 1613 the master's register of the Delft painters guild Saint Lucas included specialists in portraiture, still-lives, flower-pieces, landscapes, and 'histories'. Dutch artists were busy inventing the 'genre' type, usually defined as 'scenes from everyday life'. In the 17th century, in addition to the specialists listed in 1613, the Delft guild's memberschip register included specialists in 'perspectives', in battles, and in seascapes.
Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, 1400-1800; S.R. Epstein and Maarten Prak eds (2008)146-148