One of Rembrandt’s most gifted pupils, Nicolas Maes began his career by following closely in his master’s footsteps. In his later works, especially his signature portraiture, stylistic differences became clear. Maes doesn’t brood. His figures are bathed in light and vibrant colors. And he specialized in the painting of intimate scenes, his subjects exuding wealth and also a sparkle in their eyes. In the first U.K. exhibition devoted to Maes, the Gallery charts his rise to fame. —E.C.