In the 1300s and 1400s, the country we now call The Netherlands, didn't have a separate identity. It was clumped together with the country we now call Belgium and they were both referred to as the Lowlands or the Netherlands.
In the mid-1500s, the northern, protestant area began to separate from the southern, Catholic area, and also to get out from under Spanish domination. As they became unified, their fortunes improved.
The economy of the Netherlands was booming in the 1600s, and wealth was rather widely distributed. Instead of depending on the land and agriculture, the economy depended on commerce and manufacture; thus, instead of the nation's wealth being hoarded by royalty and the landed aristocracy, it was accumulated by a fairly large class of merchants and traders. This had a good effect on art because a lot of people could afford to acquire or commission works of art. This large art market enabled the development of many talented artists. We're going to try to learn the names of six of them: Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Judith Leyster, and Rachel Ruysch.
Names to Share
Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden
Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Judith Leyster, and Rachel Ruysch.
Museums to Visit
The Louvre, Paris
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
The Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem
Mauritshuis, The Hague
Louvre - Early Netherlandish Art
Frans Hals Museum