Venus and Cupid in a Decorative Frame with Grotesques, from the Judgment of Paris
Since the 16th century, Dutch artists used prints to promote their art and access a wider public than what was possible for a single painting. During the Dutch Golden Age, (17th century), Dutch artists perfected the techniques of etching and engraving. The rise of printmaking in the Netherlands is attributed to a connection between Italy and the Netherlands during the 1500s. Together with the large-scale production, it allowed the expanding reach of an artist’s work. Prints were popular as collecting items, so publishing houses commissioned artists to create a drawing or a painting, and then print the work for collectors - similar to what occurs at publishing houses today. Dutch printmaking evolved rapidly, so in 16th-century etching prevailed over the engraving. Major Dutch Printmaker Artists: Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hendrick Goltzius, Rembrandt van Rijn, Anna Maria van Schurman, Adriaen Jansz van Ostade, Ferdinand Bol.
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.