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A Divided Culture

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Part of the European History in Perspective book series (EUROHIP)

Abstract

The Dutch have long regarded the seventeenth century as their Golden Century, and it is perhaps the cultural achievements of the period which have become its defining characteristic for later generations. After the resonance of economic domination, great power status, and colonial expansion had faded, the achievements of Dutch artists, writers and thinkers came to be seen as what made the period great; already by the late nineteenth century it had become the land of Rembrandt, rather than of De Witt, or even of the merchant.1 Alongside the flowering of ‘high’ culture, there was also a broader cultural change, which has received less attention but was perhaps more profound, reflecting the transformation of Dutch society at the time. In neither case, however, was there a simple correlation between social and cultural change, and the persistence of traditional forms and perceptions was greater than than might have been expected.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See the now classic work: C. Busken Huet, Het land van Rembrandt (Haarlem, 1882–4).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.L. Price, Culture and Society in the Dutch Republic during the Seventeenth Century (London, 1974), esp. ch. 6Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    in a rather more nuanced way, Marten Jan Bok and Gary Schwartz, ‘Schilderen in opdracht in Holland in de 17e eeuw’, Holland, 23, 4 /5 (1991), 183–95.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Frans Grijzenhout and Henk van der Veen, De Gouden Eeuw in perspectief. Het beeld van de Nederlandse zeventiende- eeuwse schilderkunst in later tijd (Nijmegen, 1992)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J.M. Montias, ‘Estimates of the Number of Dutch Master-Painters, their earnings and their output in 1650’, Leidschrift, 6–3 (1990), 59–74;Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    A.M. van der Woude, ‘The volume and value of paintings in Holland at the time of the Dutch Republic’, in David Freedberg and Jan de Vries (eds), Art in History/History in Art. Studies in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Culture ( Santa Monica, CA, 1992 ).Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    J.M. Montias, Artists and Artisans in Delft (Princeton, NJ, 1982 ), pp. 117–18, 160–9.Google Scholar
  8. For, perhaps, an extreme example, see S. Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise. The Studio and the Market (London, 1988).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Evert M. Wiskerke, De waardering voor de zeventiende-eeuws literatuur tussen 1780 en 1813 (Hilversum, 1995 ).Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    S. Groenveld, ‘The Mecca of Authors? States Assemblies and Censorship in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic’, Too Mighty to be Free: Censorship and the Press in Britain and the Netherlands, ed. A.C. Duke and C.A. Tamse (Zutphen, 1987 ), pp. 63–86.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    Cf. K. van Berkel, ‘From Simon Stevin to Robert Boyle: Reflections on the Place of Science in Dutch Culture in the Seventeenth Century’, in The Exchange of Ideas, ed. Simon Groenveld and Michael Winde (Zutphen, 1994 ), pp. 100–14.Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Cf. E. O. G. Haitsma Mulier, The Myth of Venice and Dutch Republican Thought in the Seventeenth Century (Assen, 1980 ).Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Cf. J. Q. C. Mackrell, The Attack on ‘Feudalism’ in Eighteenth-Century France (London, 1973 ).Google Scholar
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  15. 23.
    Cf. Pieter Spierenburg, The Broken Spell: a Cultural and Anthropological History of Pre-industrial Europe (Basingstoke, 1991 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 24.
    See, most recently, Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: the Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford, 1997 ).Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    See Johannes Hendrik Marie de Waardt, Toverij en samenleving. Holland 1500–1800 (The Hague, 1991).Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    A check-list of witchcraft prosecutions is to be found in Willem Frijhoff and Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra, Nederland betoverd (Amsterdam, 1987), pp. 332ff.Google Scholar
  19. 26.
    Herman Roodenburg, Onder censuur. De kerkelijke tucht in de Gereformeerde gemeente van Amsterdam, 1578–1700 (Hilversum, 1990).Google Scholar
  20. 27.
    Willem de Blécourt, Termen van toverij. De veranderende betekenis van toverij in Noord-Oost Nederland tussen de 16de en 20ste eeuw (Nijmegen, 1990).Google Scholar
  21. 28.
    This was first established for France in R. Mandrou, Magistrats et sorciers en France au XVIIe siècle (Paris, 1968 );Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    a similar argument with regard to the ending of such prosecutions in England is advanced in James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness. Witchcraft in England 1550–1750 (London, 1996), ch. 9.Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    Willem Frijhoff, La société néerlandaise et ses gradués 1574–1784 (Amsterdam, 1981), p. 288.Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    Cf. J. L. Price, ‘Regional identity and European culture: the North Sea region in the Early Modern Period’, in Juliette Roding and Lex Heerma van Voss (eds), The North Sea and Culture (1550–1800) (Hilversum, 1996 ), pp. 78–95.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. L. Price 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HullUK

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