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Chapter 26: The Secular Baroque in the North

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1 Chapter 26: The Secular Baroque in the North
The Art of Observation

2 The Netherlands

3 Amsterdam Canals

4 Amsterdam

5 Dams, Dikes and Windmills

6 Tulip fields

7 Calvinist Amsterdam: City of Contradictions
Highly commercial – acquisition of all kinds of goods a fundamental preoccupation Center of commerce in European north Goods traded from throughout the globe Rigidly religious – austere in doctrine and in church decoration

8 Amsterdam’s Independence
Calvinist resistance to Spanish dominion in 16th century 1567 Dutch flood their lands rather than submit to the Spanish Duke of Alba 1576 Spanish Fury – leads to death of 7,000 citizens in Antwerp. 1581 northern provinces declare their independence from Spain Amsterdam becomes the most important port in the North displacing Antwerp.

9 The Dutch Reformed Church
Proclaimed by Calvinist leaders in 1571 Although not an official state religion in the Netherlands, any person in public service had to belong to this church

10 Strictly Calvinist in doctrine
Strong belief in the predestination of salvation Good works were useless in gaining salvation Interior of churches devoid of ornamentation – reflecting the purity and propriety of the congregation

11 The Science of Observation
In the 17th century Amsterdam was the most scientifically advanced city in the world. Inventions: Lens Telescope Microscope

12 The Science of Observation
Astronomy: Kepler perfects Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the Universe Galileo improves the microscope and discovers gravity The Church authorities persecute, incarcerate or execute scientists.

13 Francis Bacon ( ) Bacon was a leading advocate of the empirical method, based on inductive reasoning (direct observation of phenomena) However, utter reliance on senses could lead to fundamental errors The four Idols (the Tribe, the Cave, the Marketplace, the Theatre) were errors in reasoning that could lead one astray One of the founders of the Royal Society, a leading force in international science even today.

14 Rene Descartes ( ) Championed the process of deductive reasoning, the opposite of Bacon’s process. Believed that both observational senses and thought itself could mislead and deceive. Among the founders of deism, which asserts that religious belief is ultimately based in reason and logic. Famously stated “cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am.)

15 Dutch Vernacular Painting
Marked by intricate attention to detail, Dutch paintings of the 17th century can be grouped in several categories: Still life: representation of household objects and/or food Landscape: the representation of the countryside Genre scenes: images of everyday life Portraits, either individual or group: the representation of personal likeness.

16 Still Life Flowers in a Wan-li Vase with Blue-Tit by Johannes Goedaert, c. 1660 Example of vanitas painting – reminder that earthly pleasures do not last Reflects righteous Protestant principles

17 Landscape May reflect Dutch national pride at reclaiming extensive lands from the sea (similar to God’s re- creation of the world after the Flood) Much emphasis on the infinite reaches of the heavens in such pictures

18 Genre Paintings May be boisterous, fun-filled scenes or quiet domestic interiors Depict the everyday, commonplace world of Dutch life Remarkably detailed – new aspects emerge upon repeated viewing Johannes Vermeer was a notable artist in this genre.

19 Veermer and the Northern Tradition

20 Johannes Vermeer ( )

21 Johannes Vermeer

22 Portraits Seek to convey the sitter’s vitality and personality
Beginning with Frans Hals ( ), group portraits depict dynamic social relationships, involved in activities of their organization, with subtle indications of rank, prestige, or power

23 Rembrandt ( ) Pre-eminent painter of portraits – group, individual, self- portraits Highly dramatic use of light

24 Rembrandt ( ) The Anatomy Lesson

25 Rembrandt ( ) The Nightwatch

26 Features of Baroque Art in the North
Northern Baroque art is characterized by high levels of attention to detail. It reflects both scientific discovery of the era and religious conviction. Visual detail was understood as the earthly manifestation of the divine. Absence of religious themes Private demand rather than religious art commissioned by the Church


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