Art & Architecture

Rarities of These Lands: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Dutch Republic

A vivid account of Dutch seventeenth-century art and material culture against the backdrop of the geopolitics of the early modern world


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Mar 9, 2021
140 color illus.
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The seventeenth century witnessed a great flourishing of Dutch trade and culture. Over the course of the first half of the century, the northern Netherlands secured independence from the Spanish crown, and the nascent republic sought to establish its might in global trade, often by way of diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire and other Muslim powers. Central to the political and cultural identity of the Dutch Republic were curious foreign goods the Dutch called “rarities.”

Rarities of These Lands explores how these rarities were obtained, exchanged, stolen, valued, and collected, tracing their global trajectories and considering their role within the politics of the new state. Claudia Swan’s insightful, engaging analysis offers a novel and compelling account of how the Dutch Republic turned foreign objects into expressions of its national self-conception.

Rarities of These Lands traces key elements of the formation of the Dutch Republic—artistic and colonialist ventures alike—offering new perspectives on this momentous period in the history of the Netherlands and its material culture.