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Dutch Art term paper

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"In the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the political and economic importance of the central region of the southern Netherlands increased with the same rapidity as that of Flanders and still more the Maas district declined. It thus came about that Brabant became the leading province during the later period of Gothic, spreading its influence widely, in particular in regard to architecture, and imposing its own regional version of Gothic not only on its immediately neighbouring provinces but even on Holland, where up till then the Flemish style had been followed. Masters from Brabant worked in the towns of Holland: Jan II Keldermans in Leiden and Evert Spoorwater in Dordrecht and elsewhere, to mention no more than two. Only at the very end of this period did Holland evolve its own typical version of the Gothic, departing widely in conception and design from the classical French forms which continued to be fairly faithfully interpreted, although in a somewhat rustic manner, in the Gothic of Brabant. The region of Gelderland, stretching from the mouth of the IJsel to Roermond and Weert, shows a pronounced preference for a rather formal type of 'hall church' (Hallenkirche), under German influence. The Hanseatic League may have played a part in the dissemination of this particular style. In addition we find here a number of pseudobasilical churches: churches whose lofty centre nave and lower side aisles are spanned by a single tent roof. The whole of this style group has a preference for square bays."
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"Another leading realistic landscape painter was Jan van Goyen, born in Leiden, Rembrandt's home town, in 1596, ten years before Rembrandt was born. In 1617 van Goyen spent a year in Haarlem studying with Esaias van de Velde. This was apparently the crucial part of his training, although he is said to have had six teachers altogether in the course of his schooling as an artist. He started with a style and subjects very similar to Esaias van de Velde's. In fact, very early paintings by Jan van Goyen are hard to differentiate from paintings by Esaias. In his early works there are intense local colours and sharp contrasts of light and dark. In the 1630s Jan van Goyen, who settled in The Hague in 1631, was one of the painters who developed what is called the tonal style. The climax of the tonal period ranged from about 1633 to about 1644, and van Goyen was one of the major landscape painters of this period. He travelled a good deal, and his sketchbooks that have survived, dating from about 1620-25, show how he worked freely from life during his travels, recording views in various parts of the Netherlands. The unification of space and light in his drawings is remarkable for this early time. He inscribed the location and the date on many sketches, so that his routes can be followed. Many of the paintings he based on such sketches are also signed and dated, making him one of the few painters whose production we can follow almost year by year."
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"For Rembrandt the drawing was always the natural means of expression; more than any other it lent itself to the representation of the "history" that Rembrandt wanted to depict from religion or mythology. This predilection was not entirely a result of his education at the Latin school, nor of his training under Pieter Lastman, who had received his artistic education in Italy. Rembrandt needed a story because he found the emotional element in all human experience fascinating. The manner in which this emotional element shaped his style of drawing can be seen both in his earliest and in his last, extremely simplified drawings. He used, consequently, all the techniques we have mentioned, even silverpoint. Rembrandt remained a painter, however; probably, drawing was not strictly necessary to his painting. But he had the art of quickly and accurately setting down the content of his imagination with a few lines and brushstrokes -- and he enjoyed doing it. By leaving much out, sometimes by stating nothing at all, he succeeds in endowing a mere scratch, or a dot, or a single shade with tremendous significance. His imagination seeks out meetings between Biblical or historical characters; he then carries the story on, endowing it with the fruits of his own thoughts and conflicts. He involves himself in everything, including the everyday world, which had never before been rendered so completely in pictorial form."
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