Gluttony (Gula) from The Seven Deadly Sins
After Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish, Breda (?) ca. 1525–1569 Brussels)
The Dutch Golden Age was a period from 1581 to 1672, when the Netherlands experienced the "Dutch Miracle", transcended to the foremost maritime and economic power. In 1568, the Seven Provinces started a rebellion against Philip II of Spain, leading to the Eighty Years' War with Spain and the Thirty Years' War between other European superpowers. Protestants moved from the southern to the northern Netherlands, many settled in Amsterdam, transforming a port town into one of the most important commercial centers in the world by 1630. In addition to the migration of Protestants, there were also influxes of refugees who had previously fled from religious persecution, particularly Sephardi Jews from Portugal and Spain, and Protestants from France. Catholics moved in the other direction - to the southern provinces, modern Belgium. North quickly gained the highest literacy rates in Europe, an abundance of capital, the largest merchant fleet in Europe. The Dutch dominated trade in the Baltic Sea, between China and Japan, and with the English colonies in North America. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was the first multinational corporation, financed by shares that established the first modern stock exchange. The Bank of Amsterdam, the first central bank, was established in 1609. The Dutch Golden Age is the art period dominanted by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Frans Hals. Some notable artistic styles and trends include Haarlem Mannerism, Utrecht Caravaggism, the School of Delft, the Leiden fijnschilders, and Dutch classicism. 1672 is called a disaster year" when the Dutch Republic was attacked by England, France, Münster, and Bavaria. The invading armies quickly defeated most of the Dutch States Army and conquered part of the Republic.
The roots of the Flemish school are usually placed in Dijon, the capital of the dukes of Burgundy where Philip the Bold (reigned 1363–1404) established a tradition of art patronage. Philip the Good (reigned 1419–67) moved the Burgundian capital to Brugge (Bruges). The largest county in the Southern Netherlands was Flanders and the term Flanders is often used to refer to the whole of the Southern Netherlands. Flanders produced many famous artists of Northern Europe. Arts flourished in the County of Flanders and neighboring Brabant, Hainaut, Picardy, Artois, and Tournaisis, from the early 15th century until the 17th century. In the 15th century and up to 1520 Flaundry was a part of Early Netherlandish art with the center in Antwerp. It gradually became distinct from the art of the rest of the Low Countries, especially the modern Netherlands by the end of the 16th century, when the north and the south Netherlands were politically separated. During the last quarter of the 16th century, political unrest between the northern and southern parts of the Netherlands brought a decline in Flemish art. Many Flemish artists left the Southern Netherlands for Rome, Germany, or the Dutch Republic. After Twelve Year Truce, Flemish art revived.