Golden Age Of Dutch Art: Jan Steen (1626 79)

971 words - 4 pages

To further grasp the era of the Dutch Golden Age, several historians have relied on artistic interpretations as one of their primarily sources. Artist during the Dutch era, were able to decipher the historical period without statistical facts or textual analysis, they had the benefit of first-hand observations. Artist were able to capture beyond objective data, they were able to unravel the underlying feelings during and after the Dutch Golden Age. One artist that has been able to denote the Dutch Golden Age in accordance to the people of the time era was Jan Steen. Jan Steen is established for mastering genre painting, portraying a scene that adapts to the period with an exaggerated anecdote. Steen was able to observe the Dutch people by traveling from town to town, endeavoring to depict all aspects of Dutch lifestyle. Analyzing Jan Steen's paintings is another way of studying the theological, political, economical, and social aspect of Dutch lifestyle, during their Golden Age.In the painting of Samson and Delilah (1667-70) by Jon Steen, the main theme of betrayal is portrayed. The characteristic of the genre painting evokes the biblical tragedy of Samson, in order to emphasize mistrust and corruption. The concept of mistrust and corruption is evident in the Dutch republic's political and religious state. Prior to the Dutch Golden Age, the Dutch republic was conducted under Catholic Spain. The rebellious spirit against Catholic Spain evoked a fervent spirit of Calvinist Protestantism. In the background of the painting Samson and Delilah, it seems that the people are entertained by another's defeat (Samson), similar to the defeat against the catholic Spaniards Efforts to remain a Calvinist republic caused resentment. Religious toleration was superficially used to avoid conflict, emphasizing hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is observed through the relationship of Delilah and Samson. The Philistine wanted to discover the secret of Samson's incredible strength, thereby, using Delilah as an ally. Delilah's cynical motives with Samson are triggered through the hopes of gaining a great sum of money. The root of the Delilah's sin is greed, similar to the greed of Dutch society politically. After gaining independence, bitterness towards centralized government grew. A representative government quickly emerged; each provincial estate assigned a stadholder, who had aristocratic military experience. When in crisis, the Dutch estates would gather together and appoint one single stadholder to represent the entire republic. Power rivalry between regents and stadholders forced a decentralized government: individual stadholder and individual local militias. The regents' distrust for stadholders was based on greed and the potential threat from royal pretenses. The regents new that the weakness of the stadholders was based primarily on taxation; therefore, they opposed to grant taxes in favor of maintenance for the stadholders. Delilah's deceiving coaxing allowed her to...

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