Renaissance in the Netherlands

Renaissance in the Netherlands

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The Renaissance in the Low Countries is the cultural period that roughly corresponds to the 16th century
16th century
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century lasted from 1501 to 1600. It is regarded by historians as the century in which the rise of the West occurred....

 in the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

. In 1500 the Seventeen Provinces
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

 were in a personal union under the Burgundian Dukes
Burgundian Netherlands
In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands refers to a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs in the period from 1384 to 1482...

, and with the Flemish
County of Flanders
The County of Flanders was one of the territories constituting the Low Countries. The county existed from 862 to 1795. It was one of the original secular fiefs of France and for centuries was one of the most affluent regions in Europe....

 cities as centers of gravity, culturally and economically formed one of the richest parts of Europe. During the course of the century the region also experienced significant changes. The union with Spain
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 under Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

, Humanism
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 and Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 led to a rebellion against the Spanish rule and the start of the religious war. By the end of the 16th century the northern and southern Netherlands were effectively split. While this fracture was reflected in the visual arts by the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade,...

 in the north and the Flemish Baroque
Flemish Baroque painting
Flemish Baroque painting is the art produced in the Southern Netherlands between about 1585, when the Dutch Republic was split from the Habsburg Spain regions to the south by the recapturing of Antwerp by the Spanish, until about 1700, when Habsburg authority ended with the death of King Charles II...

 in the south, other areas of thought remained associated with 16th century currents of Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 thought. Gradually, the balance of power shifted away from the Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

, which remained under Spanish authority, to the emerging Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

.

Geo-political situation and background



Two factors have determined the fate of the region in the 16th century. The first was the union with the kingdom of Spain through the 1496 marriage of Philip the Handsome of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...

 and Juana of Castile. Their son, Charles V, born in Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, would inherit the largest empire in the world, and the Netherlands
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

, although a prominent part of the empire, became dependent on a large foreign power.

A second factor included religious developments. The Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 gave way to new modes of religious thinking. Devotio Moderna
Devotio Moderna
Devotio Moderna, or Modern Devotion, was a 14th century new religious movement, with Gerard Groote as a key founder. Other well known members included Thomas à Kempis who was the likely author of the book The Imitation of Christ which proved to be highly influential for centuries.Groote's initial...

 practices, for example, were particularly strong in the region, while the 16th century criticisms of the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 that spread throughout Europe also reached the Low Countries. Humanists
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 such as Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam were critical but remained loyal to the church. However, the spread of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, started by Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 in 1517, eventually led to outright war. The Reformation, particularly the ideas of John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

, gained significant support in the Low Countries, and following the 1566 iconoclastic outbreaks
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 Spain attempted to quell the tide and maintain the authority of the post-Tridentine
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 Church through force by installing Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba. The repression that followed led to the Dutch Revolt
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

, the beginning of the Eighty Years War, and the establishment of the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 in the northern provinces. Subsequently, the Southern Netherlands became a bastion for the Counter Reformation, while Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 was the main religion of those in power in the Dutch Republic.

Influence of the Italian Renaissance


Trade in the port of Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and the textile industry, mostly in Ghent, turned Flanders into the wealthiest part of Northern Europe at the end of the 15th century. The Burgundian court dwelled mostly in Bruges, Ghent and Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. The nobles and rich traders were able to commission artists, creating a class of highly skilled painters and musicians who were admired and requested around the continent.

This led to frequent exchanges between the Netherlands and Northern Italy. Examples are Italian architects Tommaso Vincidor
Tommaso Vincidor
Tommaso di Andrea Vincidor was an Italian Renaissance painter and architect who trained with Raphael and spent most of his career in the Netherlands. He was also called Tommaso Vincitore, Tommaso da Bologna and Thomas Polonais .He was the pupil of Raphael, whom he helped in the execution of the...

 and Alessandro Pasqualini
Alessandro Pasqualini
Alessandro Pasqualini was an Italian Renaissance architect, born in Bologna, who helped bring Renaissance architecture to the Low Countries....

, who worked in the Netherlands for most of their careers, Flemish painter Jan Gossaert, whose visit to Italy in 1508 in the company of Philip the Handsome left a deep impression, musician Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

 who made Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 into the most important musical centre of its time (see Venetian School
Venetian school (art)
-Context:In the 15th century Venetian painting developed through influences from the Paduan School and Antonello da Messina, who introduced the oil painting technique of Early Netherlandish painting. It is typified by a warm colour scale and a picturesque use of colour...

) and Giambologna
Giambologna
Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, incorrectly known as Giovanni da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna , was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.- Biography :...

, a Flemish sculptor who spent his most productive years in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

.

Before 1500, the Italian Renaissance had little or no influence above the Alps. After this we begin to see Renaissance influences, but unlike the Italian Renaissance, Gothic elements remain important. The revival of the classical period is also not a central theme like in Italy, the "rebirth" shows itself more as a return to nature and earthly beauty.

Science



The new age presents itself in science as well. Flemish anatomist
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 Andreas Vesalius's life typically shows both the new possibilities and the troubles that came with them. He delivered ground-breaking work in rediscovering the human body, after centuries of disregard for it. This earned him great respect from some, but also caused several enquiries into his methods (dissection of the human body) and the religious implications of his work.

While Vesalius performed ground-breaking work in rediscovering the human body, Gerardus Mercator
Gerardus Mercator
thumb|right|200px|Gerardus MercatorGerardus Mercator was a cartographer, born in Rupelmonde in the Hapsburg County of Flanders, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is named after him...

, as one of the leading cartographers
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 of his time, did the same for rediscovering the outside world. Mercator too came into trouble with the Church because of his beliefs, and spent several months in jail after a conviction for heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

.

Both scientists' lives show how the Renaissance scientist is not afraid of challenging what has been taken for granted for centuries, and how this leads to problems with the all-powerful catholic church.

Though the invention of the printing press by Laurens Janszoon Coster
Laurens Janszoon Coster
Laurens Janszoon Coster , or Laurens Jansz Koster, is the name of an inventor of a printing press from Haarlem...

 in the 1430s appears to be a romantic notion, the Low Countries had an early start in printing. By 1470 a printing press was in use in Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

, where the first dated extant book was printed in 1473, while the first book in the Dutch language was the 1477 Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

 Bible. By 1481 the Netherlands had printing shops in 21 cities and towns. Famous publishing houses like those of Christoffel Plantijn in Antwerp from 1555 on, Pierre Phalèse the Elder
Pierre Phalèse the Elder
Pierre Phalèse the Elder was an important Flemish music editor and engraver of the sixteenth century....

 in Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 from 1553, and the House of Elzevir
House of Elzevir
Elzevir is the name of a celebrated family of Dutch booksellers, publishers, and printers of the 17th and early 18th centuries. The duodecimo series of "Elzevirs" became very famous and very desirable among bibliophiles, who sought to obtain the tallest and freshest copies of these tiny...

 in Leiden from around 1580 turned the Netherlands into a regional center of publishing.

Art





15th century
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

 painting in the Netherlands still showed strong religious influences, contrary to the Germanic painting. Even after 1500, when Renaissance influences begin to show, the influence of the masters from the previous century leads to a largely religious and narrative style of painting.

The first painter showing the marks of the new era is Hieronymus Bosch. His work is strange and full of seemingly irrational imagery, making it difficult to interpret. Most of all it seems surprisingly modern, introducing a world of dreams that highly contrasts with the traditional style of the Flemish masters of his day.

After 1550 the Flemish and Dutch painters begin to show more interest in nature and in beauty an sich, leading to a style that incorporates Renaissance elements, but remains very far from the elegant lightness of Italian Renaissance art, and directly leads to the themes of the great Flemish and Dutch Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 painters: landscapes, still lifes and genre painting - scenes from everyday life.

This evolution is seen in the works of Joachim Patinir
Joachim Patinir
Joachim Patinir, also called de Patiner , was a Flemish Northern Renaissance history and landscape painter from the area of modern Wallonia...

 and Pieter Aertsen
Pieter Aertsen
Pieter Aertsen , called Lange Pier because of his height, was a Dutch historical painter. He was born and died in Amsterdam, and painted there and in Antwerp, though his genre scenes were influential in Italy.-Biography:...

, but the true genius among these painters was Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Flemish renaissance painter and printmaker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes . He is sometimes referred to as the "Peasant Bruegel" to distinguish him from other members of the Brueghel dynasty, but he is also the one generally meant when the context does...

, well known for his depictions of nature and everyday life, showing a preference for the natural condition of man, choosing to depict the peasant instead of the prince.

The Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
Landscape With The Fall of Icarus
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is a painting in oil on canvas long thought to be by Pieter Bruegel, although following technical examinations in 1996, that attribution is regarded as very doubtful, and it is now seen as a good early copy by an unknown artist of Bruegel's original, perhaps...

, now thought to be an early copy, combines several elements of northern Renaissance painting. It hints at the renewed interest for antiquity (the Icarus
Icarus (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax...

 legend), but the hero Icarus is hidden away in the background. The main actors in the painting are nature itself and, most prominently, the peasant, who does not even look up from his plough when Icarus falls. Brueghel shows man as an anti-hero, comical and sometimes grotesque.

Architecture and sculpture



As in painting, Renaissance architecture took some time to reach the Netherlands and did not entirely supplant the Gothic elements. The most important sculptor in the Southern Netherlands was Giambologna
Giambologna
Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, incorrectly known as Giovanni da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna , was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.- Biography :...

, who spent most of his career in Italy. An architect directly influenced by the Italian masters was Cornelis Floris de Vriendt
Cornelis Floris de Vriendt
Cornelis Floris de Vriendt was a Flemish Renaissance architect and sculptor. He played an important role in the building of the Antwerp City Hall. His brother was Frans Floris, for whom he designed a house in Antwerp.-External links:...

, who designed the city hall of Antwerp
Antwerp City Hall
The City Hall of Antwerp, Belgium, stands on the western side of Antwerp's Grote Markt . Erected between 1561 and 1565 to the design of Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and several other architects and artists, this Renaissance building incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences.The low arcaded...

, finished in 1564.

In the early 17th century Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, Hendrick de Keyser
Hendrick de Keyser
Hendrick de Keyser was a Dutch sculptor and architect born in Utrecht, Netherlands, who was instrumental in establishing a late Renaissance form of Mannerism in Amsterdam...

 plays an important role in developing the Amsterdam Renaissance style, not slavishly following the classical style but incorporating many decorative elements, giving a result that could also be categorized as Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

. Hans Vredeman de Vries
Hans Vredeman de Vries
Hans Vredeman de Vries was a Dutch Renaissance architect, painter, and engineer. Vredeman de Vries is known for his publication in 1583 on garden design and his books with many examples on ornaments and perspective ....

 was another important name, primarily as a garden architect.

Music: the Franco-Flemish School




While in painting, the Netherlands were leading Northern Europe, in music the "Franco-Flemish" or "Dutch School" dominated all of Europe. In the early Renaissance, polyphonic
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 musicians and composers from the Low Countries were working at all the European courts and churches. Educated in the church and cathedral schools of their own region, they spread out and would bring their style to the whole continent, so that by the late renaissance a unified musical style emerged throughout Europe.

Although there is no reference to antiquity, there is a clear Flemish "Renaissance consciousness", as indicated by the words of Flemish theorist Johannes Tinctoris
Johannes Tinctoris
Johannes Tinctoris was a Flemish composer and music theorist of the Renaissance. He is known to have studied in Orléans, and to have been master of the choir there; he also may have been director of choirboys at Chartres...

, who said of these composers: "Although it is beyond belief, nothing worth listening to had been composed before their time.".

Renaissance elements in the music are the return from the "divine origin" of music to earthly beauty and sensory joy. The music becomes more structured, balanced and melodic. Whereas in the Middle Ages the choice of instruments was free, composers now start to organize instruments into homogenous groups, and write music specifically for certain arrangements.

Josquin des Prez
Josquin Des Prez
Josquin des Prez [Josquin Lebloitte dit Desprez] , often referred to simply as Josquin, was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance...

 was the most celebrated composer during the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

, and during his career enjoyed the patronage of three popes. Equally at ease in secular and religious music, he can be considered the first musical genius we know of.

Other important composers from the Netherlands were Guillaume Dufay
Guillaume Dufay
Guillaume Dufay was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance. As the central figure in the Burgundian School, he was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century.-Early life:From the evidence of his will, he was probably born in Beersel, in the vicinity of...

, Johannes Ockeghem
Johannes Ockeghem
Johannes Ockeghem was the most famous composer of the Franco-Flemish School in the last half of the 15th century, and is often considered the most...

, Jacob Clemens non Papa
Jacob Clemens non Papa
Jacobus Clemens non Papa was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance based for most of his life in Flanders...

 and Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

. Orlande de Lassus
Orlande de Lassus
Orlande de Lassus was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance...

, a Fleming who had lived in Italy as a youth and spent most of his career in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, was the leading composer of the late Renaissance.

Literature



In the middle of the 16th century, a group of rhetoricians
Chamber of rhetoric
Chambers of rhetoric were dramatic societies in the Low Countries. Their members are called Rederijkers , from the french word 'rhétoricien', and during the 15th and 16th centuries were mainly interested in dramas and lyrics...

 (see Medieval Dutch literature
Medieval Dutch literature
Medieval Dutch literature is the Dutch literature produced in the Low Countries from the earliest stages of the language up to the sixteenth century.-Early stages:...

) in Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

 and Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 attempted to put new life into the stereotyped forms of the preceding age by introducing in original composition the new-found branches of Latin and Greek poetry. The leader of these men was Johan Baptista Houwaert, who was led by an unbounded love of classical and mythological fancy.

The most important genre was music publishing, especially psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

. The Souterliedekens
Souterliedekens
The Souterliedekens is a Dutch metrical psalter, published in 1540 in Antwerp, and which remained very popular throughout the century. The metrical rhyming psalms were - probably - arranged by a Utrecht nobleman: Willem van Zuylen van Nijevelt . For the melodies he used folksongs from the Low...

 publication is one of the most important sources for the reconstruction of Renaissance folksongs. Later publishing was heavily influenced by the rebellion against the Spanish: heroic battle songs and political ballads ridiculing the Spanish occupants.

Best remembered of the writers is Philips van Marnix, lord of Sint-Aldegonde
Philips van Marnix, lord of Sint-Aldegonde
Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, Lord of West-Souburg was a Flemish and Dutch writer and statesman, and the probable author of the text of the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus.He was...

, who was one of the leading spirits in the war of Dutch independence. He wrote a satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 on the Roman Catholic Church, started to work on a Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 translation and allegedly wrote the lyrics to the Dutch national anthem.

Other important names are Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert
Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert
Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert was a Dutch writer, philosopher, translator, politician and theologian. Coornhert is often considered the Father of Dutch Renaissance scholarship.-Biography:...

, Hendrick Laurensz. Spieghel and Roemer Visscher
Roemer Visscher
Roemer Pieterszoon Visscher was a successful Dutch merchant and writer in the period often called the Dutch Golden Age.-Life:...

. Inevitably, their works and career were very much determined by the struggle between Reformation and the Catholic Church.

Political situation

  • Burgundian Netherlands
    Burgundian Netherlands
    In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands refers to a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs in the period from 1384 to 1482...

  • Seventeen Provinces
    Seventeen Provinces
    The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

  • Dutch Republic
    Dutch Republic
    The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

     – Dutch Golden Age
    Dutch Golden Age
    The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

  • Southern Netherlands
    Southern Netherlands
    Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

  • Eighty Years' War

Arts

  • Early Netherlandish Painting
    Early Netherlandish painting
    Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

  • Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting
    Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting
    Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting represents the 16th century response to Italian Renaissance art in the Low Countries. These artists, who span from the Antwerp Mannerists and Hieronymus Bosch at the start of the century to the late Northern Mannerists such as Hendrik Goltzius and Joachim...

  • Flemish painting
    Flemish painting
    Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence...

  • Dutch School (music)
  • Dutch Renaissance and Golden Age literature
    Dutch Renaissance and Golden Age literature
    Dutch Renaissance and Golden Age literature is the literature written in the Dutch language in the Low Countries from around 1550 to around 1700...

  • List of Flemish painters
  • List of Dutch painters