17th Century Dutch Society Click to advance to next slide. The 17th century Dutch society enjoyed unprecedented wealth. Its prosperity was based on her marine trade. Her supremacy in trading were derived from two advantages. The first was the technology to construct a faster and lighter ship for its trade. The second was her ability to pool together the wealth of her citizen to provide a large source risk capital for commerce (capitalism). Even in our casual glance on the history of her paintings on the period shows how these wealth were permeated into the creation of the middle class. (On the next page you can see a rising popularity of small format paintings, which was an indication that the ‘common’ citizen were wealthy enough to buy paintings for their homes.) The ‘dad’s army’, in which ordinary citizen served, to carry out their civic duty is a reflection of their politics. Dutch was governed by a republic (with no monarch). Several well known large-scale paintings of these civic guards are in the collection at the Rijksmuseum, including one by Frans Hals and one by Rembrandt. One striking feature of these paintings is the lacking of religious subject matters. Why do you think it is the case?