Cultural Transmission and Artistic Exchanges in the Low Countries, 1572-1672

Mobility of artists, works of art and artistic knowledge

Innovative Nature

We strive to bring together two disciplines of academic discourse that have too long operated solely within their own logic when studying the arts. We wish to span the borders of art history and socio-economic history, and combine the expertise of both disciplines to ensure that our research questions are dealt with in an inter- and multi-disciplinary fashion. As such, this project is a clear departure from previous research, both from a methodological and theoretical perspective. Indeed, cultural transmission and artistic innovation cannot be understood without taking into account the socio-economic, cultural, religious and artistic environment. The make-up of our research team ensures such a multi-faceted approach.

Earlier studies have focused on one particular discipline, usually painting, but this project seeks to broaden the scope by including tapestries, prints and sculpture. This will allow us to take into account the crossovers between different artistic branches (for example between tapestries and paintings; Brosens 2008). Furthermore, scholars have consistently emphasized the influence that Flemish art and artists have had on the emergence and development of the Dutch art market. However, this has not been a one-way street and attention needs be given to infiltration of Dutch elements into the Flemish artistic patrimony, particularly after 1650.

If we wish to gain full insight into artistic developments and changes in pictorial traditions, we need to call into question the autonomy and identity of national and local schools, even if it means challenging time-honored art-historical paradigms. In other words, by drawing attention to the artistic exchanges that took place within the Low Countries, we wish to make the case for a more international approach in studying Flemish and Dutch art. It is for this reason that we advocate the term “Netherlandish art” rather than “Flemish” or “Dutch” to denote the artistic output of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.