Art, Nov. 8, 1954

SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY Holland was a land of blood, sweat and beers. It fought long and fiercely to win complete independence from Spain; it amassed huge wealth by energetic trading at home and around the world, and like the U.S. today it developed a dominant middle class with a uniquely high standard of living. Unlike middlebrow Americans, the Dutch in their golden age prized paintings highly enough to buy them. In some towns, professional painters outnumbered the butchers. Perhaps a score of the artists achieved greatness; the works of a handful rivaled and vastly enriched the art of the...

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