Time and Transformation brings together a variety of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings and works on paper in a major examination of themes dealing with the transformative effects of time and circumstance. The Dutch were fascinated with this idea and the variety of motifs used to convey it. Included are images of local landscapes with medieval structures left in ruins in the wake of the Spanish wars, depictions of rustic cottages and farmhouses, Dutch Italianate landscapes with Roman ruins, and representations of accidental ruins caused by flood or fire.
Non-architectural imagery, such as vanitas still lifes and depictions of ruined trees encourage broader thinking on the meanings and associations of images of the fragmentary. Among the artists included are Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan van Goyen, Abraham Bloemaert, Willem Kalf, Gerard Dou, and Bartholomaus Breenberg.