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Art and Commerce in the Dutch Golden Age Paperback – 1 Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (1 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300081316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300081312
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
The history of the reception of seventeenth-century Dutch painting is inextricably linked with the name of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who was one of the first people to examine various aspects of Dutch painting. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By peter upton on 13 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is part of series of book based around Schama's Embarassment of Riches. They all aim to look at and explain the facets of daily life in the Golden Age and this is good - it covers the themes well but it lacks the flair of Schama
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Invaluable Guide to the Golden Age's Economics 28 Mar. 2008
By Doug - Haydn Fan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This 1997 book is a good translation by Catherine Hill from an original German work, an Economic History of the Dutch Golden Age, published a few years earlier in 1992. The book's author, German Economic Historian Michael North announces the theme and purpose of this book about Dutch painters and their role in 17th century Dutch society; "This study investigates the developments that took place in economic, social and artistic areas, as well as the way these areas interacted. At the same time, I have attempted to give a general overview of the history of art and of the social and economic develpoments in the Netherlands."

North goes on to deliver on this promise with a wealth of information, possibly too much for a book designed as he wished, for a lay audience. The majority of art historians would certainly be quick to note that much of this is quite detailed enough for even the most up-to-date specialists. This said, the book is readable, and provides the economic underpinnings beneath this very important historical age, one of the first great republics.

The book is divided into six chapters as follows;

1. Historical Interpretations of Dutch Painting.
2. The Dutch Economy.
3. Dutch Society.
4. Artist's Origins and their Socail Status.
5. Patronage and the Art Market.
6. Collections and Collectors.

North finishes this up with an excellent concluding section followed by a terrific bibliography.

My favorite chapter is II, The Dutch Economy. Again, it's easiest to let North set his own table,

"During the Golden Age, the Dutch economy astounded contemporary observers, and it still fascinates historians today. How was such a small country with less than two million inhabitants and virtually no natural resources able to become a leading economic and world power?"

North goes on to show just how this miracle occurred, and for this chapter alone the book is a must purchase for anyone fascinated by Dutch History or Art.

The other chapters provide a fulsome detailing of the life and times of the Dutch and the Dutch Artist during the century. Chock-full of a multitude of details, the book reflects in a relatively organized manner the crazed acquistivness and full plethora of trade and luxury items that erupted in the Golden Age. While some appreciation of Economic theory is advisable, it's not absolutely necessary.

Both an enlightening read AND an important reference book, this should be considered by any amateurs of Dutch Art and Dutch History and a must purchase for someone involved in teaching the field of Dutch Art, or European History.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Michael North, "Art and Commerce in the Dutch Golden Age" 23 Feb. 2012
By Kenneth Hughes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will be particularly appealing to those who find that their appreciation of an artist, genre or period is enhanced by a knowledge of the background from which the art emerged. In this case, we are in the same territory that was so informatively "backgrounded" by Timothy Brook's engaging and immensely popular "Vermeer's Hat" (see my review on this website). Brook's real enterprise was to present vignettes of the globalization of commerce and cultural exchange in the seventeenth century, and given the centrality of the newly-minted Dutch Republic in that process, and the importance of genre painting in creating and cementing the self-awareness of the new society--and the preeminence of Vermeer as a practitioner of that painting-- it was a given for Brook to seize on some of the artifacts we find in Vermeer's paintings and reveal their connections to remote and unexpected places, thus simultaneously highlighting the new international commerce and illuminating the history and provenance of the objects. So, in the case of Vermeer's "Officer and Laughing Girl," we wind up knowing far better than the officer, girl, or even Vermeer how that wonderful hat managed to wind up on his head, and our appreciation of the canvas broadens into a wider context. North's focus is far narrower, as he stays within the borders of the society and within the confines of the art and its production. He begins with a very useful summary of the history of the critical reception of Dutch art, beginning for the most part in Hegel's "Aesthetics," which gave impetus to both major directions of reception: the "work-immanent" analyses focusing on the criteria of realism, and the sociological investigations. But the majority of North's discussion is of the more practical matters affecting the production and consumption of art: the staggering power of the Dutch economy; the special circumstances of class and wealth in a bourgeois mercantile society; the social origins and status of the artists; patronage and the working of the markets; and the collectors and their collections. To each of these topics North devotes a chapter, and he provides us with enough information to visualize the processes but not so much as to drown our impressions. In respect of the economy, for example, he takes us from the early, very profitable, hegemony in the herring fishery, to the Dutch domination in the herring processing industry, which presupposes dominance in the salt business, then the shipbuilding, to the banking, the powerful stake in sugar growing and processing, thence in the slave trade and then in weapons, etc., so we can virtually feel the momentum moving the economy--all mercifully without charts, tables, and parades of statistics. How that powerful economic base created different classes of people willing and able to participate in the artistic life of their community, to buy paintings, to allow their children to become artists, to support themselves as such, to seek out wealthier individuals and civic establishments to replace the patronage formerly provided by ecclesiastical coffers , etc., is the story behind all this art, and it is well and compactly presented here. The author is an economic historian, Professor and Chair of Modern History at the University of Greifswald, but this is a book intended for the interested layman at least as much as for the professional academic. It ends with an excellent selected bibliography and a helpful index of Dutch artists.
Five Stars 4 Sept. 2014
By Sandra E. Russell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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