The Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) split the Netherlands into two territories: a Catholic Flanders ruled by Spain in the south and an independent, largely Protestant Dutch Republic in the north. The grand gallery entitled “South and North” explores the divergent artistic styles that emerged in the two regions. Among the highlights are Self-Portrait as Icarus with Daedalus (about 1618), painted by 19-year-old Anthony van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens’s Mulay Ahmad (about 1609), and three great Rembrandt portraits including Aeltje Uylenburgh (1632).
At the center of the room is a period model of a Dutch East India Company (or VOC, after its Dutch name) ship, the Valkenisse, which first set sail in 1717. One of the largest of the Dutch vessels, it carried silver and bulk cargo to Asia and returned with luxury goods to sell at huge profits in Europe. It is one of just a few period models of VOC ships to survive and the only one in the United States.
The adjacent space, “In the Home,” evokes an Amsterdam house in the second half of the 17th century, full of exquisite paintings, silver, furniture, Delft ceramics, an elaborately carved beeldenkast (decorated cupboard), and a dolls’ house furnished with nearly 200 silver and porcelain miniatures.
- Art of Flanders and the Netherlands in the 17th Century (Gallery 242)