In Dutch pictures we frequently find texts assumed into pictures as inscriptions or as letters. (…) The works we shall look at are by the best-known group of narrative painters, the so-called Amsterdam history painters. (…) This artists painted small narrative works for the home, mostly biblical in subject matter, during the first three decades or so of the seventeenth century. (…) It is curious how many works by these artists present conversations. Once this feature is called to our attention, it is hard not to be ware of the number of figures in any image with herds bent, mouths open, hands flung out.
Svetlana Alpers - The Art of Describing. Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century.