The variety of Paintings

It has actually been approximated that between five and ten million functions of art had actually been developed during the century that the golden age of netherlands art. Very couple of of these, perhaps less than 1%, have actually survived. "Works of art, ranging from straightforward prints and also copies come originals hung in practically all dutch homes. Because that example, pictures of some sort or another were found in about two thirds of Delft households.1

Detail the a Dutch paint showingpaintings for sale on the street

After the end of the 80-year war v Spain in 1648, the Netherlands had arised as a an important new political, economic and cultural force. One of the aftermath of the Republic's freedom was the change in the balance of power, strength which had for the very first time in modern history, passed into the hand of bourgeois. This change was to have enormous repercussions on the arts market.

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Although the birth of a capitalistic culture is often cited in relation to the suddenly explosion of artistic production in the Netherlands, the diversity of money may define why pictures could be bought, however it walk not describe why they to be so strong desired. Curiously, simply to the south, France, a much huge country, had much fewer painters even though the arts had actually been proactively encouraged by Louis XIV.

One explanation because that the netherlands desire for paints is regarded the population's quintessential affection for their land and home. "A significant proportion of citizens of Dutch communities had an ext than enough income to provide for their an essential needs. Plenty of chose to spend their surplus on furnishing for your homes, including pictures. This bring about a good demand for paints at short prices. Since these paints were to it is in hung in rooms of ordinary Dutch houses, many of them to be small."2 In 1968, the Dutch chronicler Johan Huizinga described the Hollanders' love for pictures in a different method calling upon their "intense enjoyment the shapes and objects, the(ir) unshakable confidence in the reality and importance of every earthly things, a belief that... To be the direct an effect of a deep love of life and interest in one's environment."

"Seventeenth-century dutch art has actually long been known as a patent urban kind of intuitive expression. In the Netherlands rapidly expanding cities and towns were the main ar for artists, patrons and the market, while lot of the subject issue of dutch art shows the experiences and aspirations that middle-class urban elites. The has come to be commonplace to use urban origins as among the key criteria in classifying netherlands art. Artists functioning in near proximity in a common style and also with mutual iconographic interests space grouped together under together designations together "the Leiden fijnschilders" and "the Utrecht Caravaggists." Others have actually gone further to assign labels to entire communities and also coin terms such as "the Haarlem School" or "the Delft style."3 In their take trip diaries, countless foreigners, among them, Englishmen john Evelyn (fig. 1) and Peter Mundy and the Frenchman Samuel Sorbière, commented on the remarkable abundance of paintings in the Netherlands. Mundy, visiting Amsterdam in 1640, wrote:

As for the art off Painting and affection turn off the world to Pictures, ns thincke none various other goe beeyond them, ... Every in generall striving come adorne their dwellings ... With costly peeces, Butchers and also bakers ... Yea countless tymes Blacksmiths, Coblers, etts. , will have some snapshot or various other by their Forge and in your stalle. Together is the generall Notion, enclination and also delight that these Countrie Native have to Paintings.

fig. 1 Portrait of man EvelynRobert man Walker1648Oil ~ above canvas, 87.9 x 64.1 cm.National Portrait Gallery, London

Evelyn wrote, "pictures are an extremely common below , there being scarce an ordinary tradesman whose home is no decorated through them." The numbers given to united state by historical files confirm the travelers' amazement. In the middle of the seventeenth century part Dutch residences had thirty to fifty paintings per room, rooms which, it should be noted, were no all that spacious.

The idea that the Netherlands abounded with an excellent painting "must have end up being commonplace at the time. Rather likely, a proud awareness that this phenomenon was already imbedded in the self-image of the flourishing Dutch burgher."4 one of the most significant men of society in the Netherlands and connoisseur par excellence, Constantijn Huygens, provided that landscape artist "in the current Netherlands are so exponentially plentifully represented and also of together high top quality that it would certainly take an entire book to talk about them all individually."

However, opinions vary as to whether or no the lower socio-economic classes additionally had far-reaching access to the arts market.

While Mundy's and also Evelyn's comments to be likely based upon fact, it is important to note that the pictures they pointed out varied greatly in quality and price. A cheap engraving, because that example, might be had for about a 3rd of the price of a small fish or flower quiet life painting—and for about a seventh of the price the a more elaborate, high-finish banketje tho life. ~ above the various other hand, a cutting-edge fijnschilder (fine painting) occupational of Gerrit Dou can be marketed for 1,000 guilders or more, the expense of a comfortable dutch house. If acknowledging the abundance of paintings in the Netherlands, the art chronicler Mariët Westermann believes the the foreigners' accounts must not it is in taken literally due to the fact that laborers and small peasants surely might not afford an ext than a couple of mediocre prints, if that.5

However fairly than embracing the arts of painting wholeheartedly, a minority of Dutchmen condemned that on ethical and religious grounds together a dangerous type of "deception."6 As at an early stage as 1624, the ire of Dirck Raphaelsz. Camphuyzen…was roused since the arts of paint was therefore well-liked that one can say nothing against it: "Painting! ha, who have the right to denounce it without general rebellion?" One have the right to turn nowhere without see pictures: "The whole people depends on engraving, drawing, painting," that cries the end in despair. "Painting is the common bait because that the uneasy heart overwhelmed through choice, / That in spite of having to meet important needs charms the money out of one's purse, / painting seems to be the sauce because that all the sprouts indigenous the human mind."7

paintings for SaleLeonaert Bramer-Brush and black ink, 200 x 160 mm.Prentenkabinet der Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Leiden

In any type of case, regardless of the extremist religious opposition in some quarters, "for the operated as a society cement, reinforcing the shared beliefs and also aspirations that aided unite communal concerns. In the works of most artists both style and content reflected taste no of the wealthy and also sophisticated, yet of people in center circumstances. Because that this, worldwide fashion can be mainly ignored. This permitted the full breakthrough of native creative species."8 possibly no pictures an ext than Hendrick Avercamp's winter scenes represent the particularly social and artistic cohesion exclusive come the Netherlands among European nations.

What, if any, result did the unprecedented ease of access of artworks to a broad selection of the populace have top top the perception of art itself? "Once a deluxe item scheduled for the top elite and also the house of God, paintings were commonly unattainable and somewhat incomprehensible for most citizens…" and also with the transformation of "the nature of art ownership and also appreciation," the work of art "was transformed into something that was frequent and also familiar. Though art had actually not degenerated right into an overlooked object of utility, the differentiation between paintings and other objects was somehow weakened."9 It may not be an exaggeration to say the in seventeenth-century Netherlands "paintings were treated in a similar way to furniture or plate—they embellished the home, and also could be supposed to keep their worth or perhaps even increase it."10 Certainly, just a handful of artists attained an aura similar to the which surrounding the figure of the artist today. Unlike your colleagues native the southern where background painting had actually originated, dutch painters no longer encumbered through theoretical obligations of ethically uplifting materials or divine spirituality. And perhaps, this unassuming personality of netherlands art, precisely what reasons it to be so appealing in modernity—making it much more special to us, in part ways, 보다 the self-important art commissioned by the pride patrons of princely court and an effective priests.11

It is curious to keep in mind that neither Rembrandt, Hals, valve Ruisdael nor Vermeer had ever traveled come Italy yet were contents to develop their own details style of paint in the lull of your homeland studios even though Italy had been thought about throughout Europe the cradle the art, the knowledge of whom to be indispensable to produce true art.

from the abstract of:


Ingrid A. Cartwright, Ph.D., 2007

In the ten century, Dutch and also Flemish artists presented a strange brand-new face to the general public in their self-portraits. Fairly than suspect the classic guise the the learned gentleman artist that was fostered by Renaissance topoi, numerous painters gift themselves in a an ext unseemly light. Dropping the noble robes of the pictor doctus, they smoked, drank and also chased women. Dutch and Flemish artists explored a new mode of self-expression in dissolute self-portraits, embracing the many habits that art theorists and also the society at huge disparaged.

Dissolute self-portraits was standing apart indigenous what was expected of a conventionalself-portrait, yet they were however appreciated and valued in Dutch society and in the arts market.

Dissolute self-portraits also reflect and also respond to a bigger trend regardingartistic identity in the seventeenth century, notably, the stereotype "hoe schilder hoe wilder" that posited Dutch and Flemish artist as fundamentally unruly characters prone to prodigality and dissolution. Artists taken on this unique identity, which subsequently granted them specific freedoms from social norms and also a patent to misbehave.

Patronage, Competition and Diversification

The church and monarchy, which had been traditionally the most an effective patrons that the arts, were substituted in the Netherlands through a newly created and wide based center class. After ~ the iconoclasm of the Calvinists in the 1560s, the church had actually all however ceased to administer commissions because that painters. The Reformed Church permitted money to be spent just for the decoration of church organs. "Compared v the rulers of various other European countries, the residence of Orange was reasonably modest patrons the the arts, specifically in for to dutch painters who hardly ever received commissions from them."12

With scarce aristocratic patronage, background painting, i m sorry once dominated the photographic arts, gradually came to be a minority art. The vacuum was barely noticed: new categories that painting conveniently evolved in this dramatically new economic environment. Portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still-lives, flower painting and genre themes, which had once existed generally as descriptive elements within history painting, came to be independent motifs in the early sixteenth century. In the have to keep action with the swiftly evolving market, part painters developed more efficient methods to rise their output and maintain affordable prices for a broader consumer base. The creation of tonal paint made the new landscapes , which were painted in this style, lot cheaper come produce, do secularized demand for non-religious subjects possible on a cool scale.13 top top the various other hand, the Leiden fijnschilders took the the opposite route and also produced works of such technical perfection and intellectual distinction that their makers might demand extraordinary prices not only from occasional upstream buyers but self-styled Mecenas who entertained the expect of linking the fame of a great painter to their very own posterity. Yet, "there is no proof that this patrons commissioned details themes. They just bought the appropriate to buy any photo the master determined to make.14 In the situation of Vermeer's patron, Pieter van Ruijven, that had gathered perhaps one-half or more of the artist's entire output, it has been difficult to ascertain if he had exercised his will as to the selection of subject matter or style even though the an initial pictures valve Ruijven bought to be Vermeer's very very first interiors. In any case, creating such expensive, time-consuming paintings had actually the benefit that the upper financial crust who could afford them remained greatly isolated from the effects of by economic downturns, in fact, your wealth often increased.

Each classification of paint was subdivided into even more specific categories. Seventeenth-century Netherlanders had arisen a specific a passion for depictions of city and countryside, either real or imaginary unfound in various other parts the Europe. See painters, because that example, produced naturalistic views of the dutch countryside, cityscapes, winterscapes, imagine landscape, seascapes, Italianate, nocturnal landscapes and also even birds-eye watch of the sprawling Amsterdam metropolis. "Local see asserted Holland's nationwide pride, if vistas of foreign sites recalled the degree of its abroad commerce. Holland's ocean ports teemed with fishing and trading ships, and also the tiny country's vendor fleet was nearly as big as all the rest of maritime Europe's combined. The dutch prized seascapes and also insisted on specific renderings of every hull and also rigging line."15

How walk Vermeer fit into the dynamic Dutch arts scene? when the Delft artist became active in the so late 1650s, subject matter had largely been staked out. Netherlands painters—the an excellent part that whom would certainly not have actually objected to be referred to as craftsmen—were infatigable workers, exceptional inventors and they had an enviable knack for photographic juggling. In comparison to the rest of Europe, the variety of independent subject categories and also painting layouts at the fingertips of Dutch art shoppers to be bewildering. Subjects ranged native Biblical scenes to life-size images of bare-breasted prostitutes. One could pick from low-priced landscapes, seascapes, snowscapes, Italianate countrysides with an old ruin or two or a breath-taking bird's-eye watch of Amsterdam. Because that those who preferred depictions of other Dutchman over images of netherlands land, sea sky and bricks, paints of folk world skating, aristocrats surveying the countryside on horseback, world arguing, civilization making business, soldiers making war and also dignitaries making peace were easily accessible in any type of size and also style. These paintings were so popular and so conveniently priced that they could be do on order and also exported to europe capitols by art dealers.

One the the many original species of paint to be arisen was inner genre works which displayed well-to-do going about daily life, from ritualized courtship to letter reading, letter writing and also housekeeping (today group under the term "genre"). "Vermeer, who started to produce his genre paints in the so late 1650s, can not have actually embarked upon a career in this specialty at a much more auspicious moment. The Dutch economic situation virtually exploded v the cessation the hostilities through Spain in 1648; indeed, the nation's economy would reach its apogee within a few short years after that event.16


The multiplicity of categories in netherlands seventeenth-century paintings was cultivated by the truth that rather of paint to the stimulate the couple of wealthy and powerful, painters were (for the very first time in the background of western art) creating wares because that individual buyers each v a various economic and social backgrounds receptive to images with all kinds of subject matter and also a wide variety of styles. Since it took a an extremely long time to end up being proficient in any one area, artist usually devoted and concentrated their initiatives to one area. Vermeer and Rembrandt were amongst the few painters who were able to create masterpieces in various categories.

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It has been hypothesized that the "surprising advance of specialties about 1600 stemmed partly from the department of labor practiced in the huge Antwerp workshops previously in the 16 century. The top Antwerp painters to be accustomed come leaving the execution of significant parts of their images to other artists. As heads the workshops they decreed the an option of subjects and also he layout of execution; they also supplied the design and also maintained call with the customers."17 However, committed assistants to be recruited because that landscapes, drapery, animals and also landscape architecture.18 by concentrating solely on drapery, a painter could dedicate full-time to excogitate new techniques come depict various textures v the utmost fidelity. The capacity to render textures and also fine structure soon came to be one the the exam of netherlands genre painters. Philip Angels, a boy painter that wrote one eulogy top top the art of painting (In worship of the art of Painting, Leiden, 1642), preserved that the viewer should have the ability to distinguish the difference in between satin and silk from "Tours."

By the time Vermeer had begun to depict his interiors, painters had actually devised formulae to depict virtually every organic or fabricated textures that one can encounter. In effect, as soon as Vermeer consisted of satin apparel in his painting, he to be well aware that they would certainly be compared to those of one of the most highly appraised and also sought after painters of the minute Gerrit ter Borch.