Rubens or Rembrandt? Art, Politics and the Roots of Belgium and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries

When
20-02-2018 from 19:00 to 20:30
Where
Blandijn, Aud. 3 Suzanne Lilar (formerly Aud. D)
Language
English
Organizer
Martine De Reu
Contact
Martine.DeReu@ugent.be
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The Dutch Revolt (1568-1648) led to the birth of the Dutch Republic (approximately the current-day Netherlands), while the Southern Low Countries (approximately current-day Belgium) remained loyal to their dynastic lord, the Spanish king. The separation of the Northern and Southern Low Countries was the outcome of a complex political and religious conflict that started in the sixteenth century in the large, prosperous cities of the South (Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent) but eventually led to the spectacular rise of Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. The lecturer explains the vibrant, cosmopolitan urban culture of the sixteenth century of which Pieter Bruegel the Elder is the most famous representative and discusses how national identities were molded during the Dutch Revolt, thanks to the unprecedented political use of pamphlets, image and ritual. Although the awareness of a common cultural and political heritage did not entirely disappear, the differences between the inhabitants of the Northern and Southern Low Countries were more and more apparent: the Dutch had always been more freedom-loving, tolerant and thrifty, while the Belgians/Flemish were devout Catholics and true Burgundians, loving good food and wine. The lecturer will discuss and partly deconstruct these clichés, but also show how they continue to live on, most notably in our appreciation of the great 'Dutch' (Rembrandt, Vermeer) and 'Flemish' (Rubens, Jordaens) painters.

Lecturer: Jonas Roelens, Faculty of Arts