ART/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART TASK SHEET # 4 FOR MODULE: WEEK 4: EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS PATRONS: 17TH C. DUTCH REPUBLIC DUE DATE: Monday, February

ART/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART
TASK SHEET # 4 FOR MODULE: WEEK 4:

EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS PATRONS: 17TH C. DUTCH REPUBLIC

DUE DATE: Monday, February 19, by 9:00 pm! Submit ON TIME in Canvas “Assignments” only!
 This task sheet has TWO PARTS. You MUST complete ALL tasks in BOTH PARTS.
 Please also review the Task Sheet Information handout posted in MODULE: WEEK 1!
 ONLY submit Task Sheets that are completed and based on the assigned readings and videos!

READINGS AND VIDEOS [see and access via MODULE: WEEK 4]
Internet: Essential Vermeer: “A Brief Overview of the Dutch Art Market in the Seventeenth Century”
[“Patronage, Competition, and Diversification” and “Paintings for Sale”]:

Internet: [for background info]

INTRO: EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS PATRONAGE IN THE 17TH C. DUTCH REPUBLIC
• As one of our assigned texts states: “High-class patronage was considerably lacking in the

seventeenth century Dutch Republic, making way for a new form of art marketing in Europe.
The Reformation and establishment of the Republic meant that the traditional patronage
system under Church and crown was replaced with a more business-like arrangement.
Patronage was still found to some extent in public commissions, but for the first time artists
were painting for an open market.”

• As we learned in Module 3, aside from the courts and the church, wealthy secular patrons,
such as the House of Medici, were already crucial patrons in the Renaissance. However, in 17th

century Europe, the burgeoning middle classes (Protestant ministers, lawyers, physicians,
small merchants, industrialists and clerks) became increasingly important patrons of the arts.

• Furthermore, these new patrons’ tastes and preferences shaped the development of art itself,
moving it into new directions and to new subject matter with genre painting (paintings of
everyday scenes), landscape and cityscape painting, and still-life and Flower Painting.

KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS
Patronage: The encouragement, privilege, or financial support that an organization or individual
bestows on another. In the history of art, patronage refers to the support that kings, queens, popes, and
other wealthy and influential people provided to visual artists, architects, musicians, writers, etc..
For many centuries artists did not create their art for art’s sake or for personal expression, but only
when they received commissions in advance from a patron [see Task Sheet #3 and Book: pp. 17-21].

The Dutch Golden Age denotes the period in the history of the Netherlands roughly spanning from
1588, when the independent and reformed Dutch Republic was established, to 1672, when Dutch
trade, science and art, as well as colonization were among the most prominent in Europe.
“During the 17th century, driven by new freedom from Spanish Catholic rule [the Reformation], the
Dutch Republic experienced a surge in economic and cultural prominence. An influx of trade
boosted commerce, leading to the rise of a large middle and merchant class in the market for the
proliferation of art […]. Painting flowered as artists focused on everyday scenes of ordinary life,
expressed through a growing cadre of genre works, all indicative of the thriving creative period.” [see:
]

Hierarchy of Genres (or Categories) in Painting
A categorization along value was made within genres (categories) of painting since the Renaissance,
listed below in their hierarchical order. However, in the 17th century, esp. in northern Europe and newly
Protestant countries, genres were favored that closely related to the emerging middle class patrons’
tastes and lives, such as Genre Paintings, Landscapes and Cityscapes, and Still-Life and Flower
Painting, which demonstrated moral and religious values, as well as highlighted private possessions
and connections to commerce, esp. the blooming trade with tulip bulbs in the Dutch Republic.

 History Painting (depictions of historical events, biblical and mythological scenes)
 Portrait Painting (depictions of specific human subjects; historically the rich and powerful)
 Genre Painting (depictions of scenes of every day life and activities/domestic situations)
 Landscape Painting (depictions of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, forests, rivers)
 Still-life Painting (depictions of inanimate objects such as cut flowers, fruits, dead animals,

vessels, silver, musical instruments, coins, books, often with allegorical or symbolic meaning)
 Flower Painting (depictions of floral arrangements and bouquets; part of still-life painting)

PART I: WHAT’S NEW IN THE 17TH C. DUTCH ART MARKET AND PATRONAGE?
See also the Introduction and Key Terms and Concepts, pp. 1&2 of this task sheet.

YOUR TASKS FOR PART I
Read: Essential Vermeer: “A Brief Overview of the Dutch Art Market in the Seventeenth Century”:

Summarize each sub-section about the Dutch Art Market in the 17th Century listed below in c.
THREE SENTENCES EACH in your own words [don’t copy and paste, please! : )]

• Categories of Painting
• The Guild of Saint Luke and Training
• Patronage, Competition and Diversifications
• Specialization
• Paintings for Sale
• Artists’ Income & Economic Background
• Earnings of Painters Belonging to the Guild of Saint Luke
• Decline

PART II: THE CASE OF PAINTER JOHANNES VERMEER
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675, Delft, Netherlands) was a Dutch Baroque Period painter considered one
of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age along with Rembrandt [Wikipedia].

YOUR TASKS FOR PART II
Read: Essential Vermeer: “A Brief Overview of the Dutch Art Market in the Seventeenth Century”:

Please answer the following TWO questions in c. 4-6 sentences each:
1) Explain what genre Vermeer specialized in and became famous for, and what he typically included
to better compete. [See section “Specialization”]
2) Explain Vermeer’s specific artist/client relationship(s) and his economic and family background, and
what or who kept them financially afloat [See “Artists’ Income and Economic Background”]

categories
earnings
income
sale
specialization
training
decline
  • Art/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART
  • TASK SHEET #4 FOR MODULE: WEEK 4:
  • EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS PATRONS: 17TH C. DUTCH REPUBLIC

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