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Dutch Masters of the Golden Age Painting

New Netherland Republic

The Netherlands became a Spanish possession beginning in 1556 when its crown passed to the foreign King Philip II of Spain.

William the Silent (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584) was the father of the Dutch Republic.

He was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt which saw the Netherlands emerge as a state during the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648), declaring their independence from the Spanish Empire in 1581.

The new Dutch Republic was proclaimed in 1588.

The Dutch Republic rose to world power in the 17th century and became a leading force in European trade, science and art.

The United East India Company was a large company that prospered for most of the 17th century as part of the powerful Dutch trading empire in the East Indies (present-day Indonesia).

Dissolved in 1799.

Capitalism was the economic and political system that caused the expansion of trade, attracted immigrants, and stimulated the growth of major cities and ports.

History of Dutch Painting

The Dutch Golden Age from about 1620 to 1680 developed a very distinct style of painting depicting the natural world that favored landscapes such as sand dunes along the western sea coast and rivers with surrounding pastures where cattle grazed, often with vision of a city in the distance.

They depicted everyday life with Dutch proverbs and sayings that conveyed a moralistic message.

Between 1605 and 1635 over 100,000 paintings by painters such as Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael, Lieven de Key and Jan Steen were created in Haarlem, capital of the province of North Holland with paintings depicting the city’s glorious history and products.

Many portrait paintings were also commissioned by the wealthy during the 17th century.

Dutch words “stilleven” and “landschap” adopted into English as “still life” and “landscape” on which art in Europe depended for the next two centuries.

The Golden Age never really recovered from the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78) which caused the republic to collapse in 1795 and its colonial empire eclipsed by England.

Important Masters of the Golden Age

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 – 1669)

Rembrandt is considered one of the greatest artists in the history of Baroque painting.

He was a prolific master of three mediums – draftsman, painter and printmaker who also taught many important Dutch painters.

His subject matter ranged from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, and biblical and mythological subjects as well as animal studies.

Famous paintings by Rembrandt

*The Night Watch (1642)

The Night Watch is famous for three things: its colossal size (363 cm × 437 cm (11.91 ft × 14.34 ft)), its dramatic use of light and shadow (tenebrism), and the perception of movement in something which was traditionally a static portrait of the military group.

*The Jewish Bride (1665)

The Jewish Bride, depicted as Isaac and Rebecca, the sitters emphasized their faith and piety and that their marriage was happy and virtuous.

* The Storm on the Sea of ​​Galilee (1633)

An oil on canvas painting depicting the Biblical story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of ​​Galilee.

It is Rembrandt’s unique seascape.

*Head of Christ (1648)

The Head of Christ is a 1648 painting now in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.

*Bathsheba at Her Bath (1654)

The painting hangs in the Louvre and depicts King David watching Bathsheba bathe from the Old Testament.

Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675)

Dutch Golden Age artist Johannes Vermeer was a painter of the Baroque period who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life and masterful use of light in his work.

“Nearly all of his paintings,” wrote Hans Koningsberger, “are apparently set in two small rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and often depict the same people, mostly women.”

About 36 of his paintings exist and are among the most revered treasures now found in the world’s best museums.

Famous paintings include:

*View of Delft (1661)

*Girl With a Pearl Earring (1665)

*The Milk Maid (1658)

* The Little Street (1658)

Franz Hals (1582 – 1666)

Franz Hals the Elder was a Baroque painter best known for his portraits of wealthy citizens and large group portraits depicting local political guards.

His paintings depict banquets, meetings of officers, guilds, local councilors, itinerant players and singers, gentlemen, fishermen and tavern heroes.

His wedding portraits show the husband traditionally positioned on the left and the wife on the right.

The Laughing Horseman (1624) is one of Hals’ most famous works, and the Officers’ Dinner (1616) of the Company of St Adrian Militia in 1627 captures each character in a variety of poses and facial expressions.

Some of his many paintings include:

*Officers’ Banquet (1616)

*Laughing Cavalier (1624)

*Laughing Boy (1525)

*Officers and Sergeants (1639)

Jan Steen (1626 – 1679)

Jan Havickszoon Steen (1626 – 3 February 1679) was a 17th-century Dutch painter whose works included portraits, historical and biblical subjects, genre paintings and paintings referring to old Dutch proverbs or literature.

Steen often used members of his own family as models.

Famous paintings include:

*Harpsichord Lesson (1660)

*The Dancing Couple (1663)

*Feast of Saint Nicholas (1665)

*The Happy Family (1668)

Rachel Ruysch (1664 – 1750)

Rachel Ruysch was a Dutch still life painter from North Holland who specialized in flowers.

Her painting career spanned over six decades and she is the best-documented female painter of the Dutch Golden Age.

She began painting from the age of fifteen until the age of eighty-three and died at the age of eighty-six.

Rachel Ruysch’s famous paintings include:

*Roses, Convolvulus, Poppies and Other Flowers in an Urn on a Stone Ledge (1688)

*Flowers in a vase (1699)

*Flowers in a glass vase (1704)

* Flowers Still Life (1726)

Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525 – 1569)

Pieter Bruegel was a Flemish (region of Flanders) artist and engraver of the Dutch Renaissance, known for his landscapes and rural scenes.

He often disguised himself as a farmer to attend local celebrations such as fairs and weddings to develop his theme.

He is often referred to as “Brueghel the Peasant”, to distinguish him from the later painters of his family, which included his son Pieter Bruegel the Younger (1564-1638).

His paintings generally depict villagers against a landscape background, religious works such as the Conversion of Paul and the Sermon of St. John the Baptist, and religious sayings that were characteristic of the Northern Renaissance.

Famous paintings include:

* The Harvesters (1565)

* The Hay Harvest (1565)

* The Peasant Wedding (1567)

*The Sermon of Saint John (1564)

Hendrick Terbrugghen (1588-1629)

Hendrick Jansz ter Brugghen (or Terbrugghen) was a Dutch painter who was one of the followers of Caravaggio (Italian painter of the late 1500s and early 1600s) – the so-called Utrecht Caravaggisti.

Genre scenes included half figures of drinks or musicians, religious icons and group portraits.

Famous paintings include:

* Bagpipes (1624)

* The Singing Lute Player (1624)

*Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and Saint John (1625)

*The Denial of Saint Peter (1628)

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Rubens is considered the most important artist of the Flemish Baroque tradition in Europe during the 17th century and was also the favorite painter of his great Spanish patron, Philip IV.

During his lifetime he created masterpieces of antiquity from classical and Christian history, mythology, altarpieces, portraits and landscapes.

He was also a prolific cartoonist for the Flemish tapestry workshops.

His patrons included kings and churches.

*The Exaltation of the Cross (1610)

*Samson and Delilah (1610)

*The Descent from the Cross (1614)

*Self-portrait (1639)

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