Dutch Artists in England: Examining the Cultural Interchange between England and the Netherlands in ‘Low’ Art in the Seventeenth Century.
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The seventeenth century was an incredibly fascinating time for art in England developmentally, especially because most of the artists that were receiving the commissions from English patrons and creating the art weren’t English, they were Dutch. Over this one hundred year period scores of Dutch artists migrated over from the Dutch Republic and showed England this Golden Age of painting that had established Dutch artists back in the Netherlands as pioneers in their line of work. In studies of Anglo-Dutch art, portraiture is a genre that has been widely researched; Peter Lely (a Dutch-born portraitist) is one of many widely acclaimed artists of this genre; comparative to many of the artworks and artists chosen for this research. Generally Anglo-Dutch relations, politically, economically, religiously and of course culturally there was, during the seventeenth century, so much going on between these two nations. Did this intense ever-changing relationship have an impact on that the other ‘low’ genres of art that was produced throughout this century? This research involves understanding and thinking about the impact of the cultural exchange that took place between England and the Netherlands in the seventeenth century on ‘low’ art – marine, landscape and still life painting. This research entails thinking about the origins of these genres as well as looking at individual paintings on a detailed basis and understanding how this cultural interchange manifests and translates itself through visual motifs – objects (large and small), stylistic characteristics and theme of the painting. Various themes and interpretations - in particular iconography and iconology, descriptive versus narrative art and national identity - have been explored and considered in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the literature that already exists for this art in an effort to consider something new but to also interpret the paintings in a different way – this research has considered these paintings through the visual elements and has explained the cultural significance they provide.
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