This lesson explores artworks during the seventeenth-century in the Northern Netherlands. Students will have an opportunity to get a glimpse into the everyday life of the Baroque through Dutch still life paintings and genre scenes.
During the seventeenth-century, the Northern Netherlands became one of the most powerful regions in Europe, competing globally with superpowers such as the Spanish, French, and English. The Dutch East India Trading Company introduced the Dutch Republic to various exotic luxury goods, and the extensive trade routes resulted in economic growth and the emergence of a wealthy merchant middle-class.
The art produced in the Northern Netherlands differed in many ways from art produced in Italy. The predominance of Protestantism, as opposed to Catholicism, resulted in fewer religious and large-scale commissions. Likewise, the Netherlands was comprised of nine united provinces individually ruled by wealth Burgomasters (governors). Unlike other European countries, the Dutch Republic was not ruled by a monarch and the Dutch royal family, The House of Orange, held little political power outside of military endeavors. With few opportunities for large-scale public commissions, the sale of art on the open market—more conducive to genre scenes, still-life paintings and other popular themes—became a viable option.
-European History students will be able to situate important artists within the greater context of seventeenth-century Europe. Students will have an understanding of the impact that the Protestant Reformation and the establishment of global trade companies had on the art produced in the Netherlands.
-Art and Art History students will gain an understanding of perspective as it pertains to a newly developed painting form depicting church interiors. They will also be able to contextualize important artists within the greater scheme of art history. This gallery also describes printmaking processes and the importance of this medium during the Baroque period.
Using this Resource:
- This gallery is of interest to European History educators, as it contextualizes the Dutch Republic as a global power and situates the Protestant Reformation and iconoclasm within the realm of art history.
- This gallery is also of interest to art and art history educators, as it offers insight into the works of artists such as Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and Emanuel de Witte.
For sample related classroom activities, download the documents available under "Related Resources."
The objects in this lesson are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web source--or even better, visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries--to look for other objects that will provide further insight.