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Pride (Superbia), from the series The Seven Deadly Sins

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Pride (Superbia), from the series The Seven Deadly Sins

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Pieter van der Heyden (Netherlandish, ca. 1525–1569)

Public domain scan of 16th-century drawing, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description

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.

The term "Northern Renaissance" refers to the art development of c.1430-1580 in the Netherlands Low Countries and Germany. The Low Countries, particularly Flanders with cities Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges, were, along with Florence, the most economically advanced region in Europe. As in Florence, urban culture peaked here. The common understanding of the Renaissance places the birth of the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. Rennaisance's ideas migrated to Germany from Italy because of the travels of Albrecht Dϋrer. Northern artists such as Jan van Eyck remained attached to Medieval traditions. In their paintings, Low Countries painters attempted to reproduce space, color, volume, and light as naturalistically as possible. They achieved the perfection of oil paint in the almost impossible representation of things and objects. Rather than draw upon Classical Greek and Roman aesthetics like their Italian counterparts, Northern European Renaissance artists retained a Gothic sensibility of woodblock printing and illuminated manuscripts which clearly distinguished Northern Rennaisance art from Italian. Unlike Italian artists, northern painters were not interested in rediscovering the spirit of ancient Greece. Instead, they sought to exploit the full potential of oil paint, and capture nature exactly as they found it. Unlike their Italian counterparts, who embraced a mathematically calculated linear perspective and constructed a picture from within, Dutch artists used an empirical perspective with precise observation and knowledge of the consistency of light and things. They painted as they saw and came very close to the effect of central perspective. Long before Leonardo, they invented aerial and color perspectives. More, as with real-world human vision, their far-away shapes lose contours, and the intensity of the colors fades to a bluish hue. Robert Campin (c.1378-1444), was noted for works like the Seilern Triptych (1410) and the Merode Altarpiece (1425); Jan van Eyck (1390-1441) was noted for the Ghent Altarpiece (1432) and The Arnolfini Marriage (1434); Jan Eyck's pupil Petrus Christus (c.1410-75), best known for his Portrait of a Young Girl (1470, Gemaldegalerie, Berlin); Roger Van der Weyden (1400-64) noted for his extraordinary realism as in his masterpiece Descent From the Cross (Deposition) (1435), for the Church of Notre Dame du Dehors (now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid); Dieric Bouts (1420-75) for his devotional pictures; Hugo Van Der Goes (1440-82) famous for The Portinari Altarpiece (1475) which influenced the Early Renaissance in Florence; Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) noted for The Garden of Earthly Delights (1510-15) and other moralizing works; Joachim Patenier (1485-1524) the pioneer landscape painter; and Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569) known for landscape narratives such as The Tower of Babel (1563).

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Date

1500 - 1600
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Source

Metropolitan Museum of Art
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