Netherlands

It doesn't get better than Rembrandt, Hals, and the artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

Inventing “America” for Europe: Theodore de Bry
Inventing “America” for Europe: Theodore de Bry

De Bry's images of the Americas affirm and assert a sense of European superiority.

The Utrecht Psalter and its influence
The Utrecht Psalter and its influence

Expressive, emotional, and energetic, the Utrecht Psalter is not what you expect in a book written 1200 years ago.

Rembrandt, <em>The Jewish Bride</em>
Rembrandt, The Jewish Bride

With its almost sculptural surface and dazzling range of textures, this painting once reduced van Gogh to tears.

Huis ten Bosch (House in the Woods)
Huis ten Bosch (House in the Woods)

Built for nobility and now home to royals, this palace has a checkered past. It held art, then political prisoners.

The Town Hall of Amsterdam
The Town Hall of Amsterdam

Is this the eighth wonder of the world? Amsterdam’s leaders thought so—their hall contains a universe in miniature.

Judith Leyster, <em>The Proposition</em>
Judith Leyster, The Proposition

Virtue, or vice? This seated woman is an icon of domesticity, but the man’s money may tempt her away from work.

Frans Hals, <em>The Women Regents</em>
Frans Hals, The Women Regents

The subjects appear quiet and austere, yet Hals’s expressive use of paint animates this group portrait.

Gauguin, <em>Self-Portrait with Portrait of Émile Bernard (Les misérables)</em>
Gauguin, Self-Portrait with Portrait of Émile Bernard (Les misérables)

These self-portraits were swapped like friendship bracelets among Gauguin, Bernard, and their buddy Van Gogh.

Willem Kalf, <em>Still Life with a Silver Ewer</em>
Willem Kalf, Still Life with a Silver Ewer

Kalf celebrates the fruits of life but reminds us of our mortality. The light—and his technique—are otherworldly.

Listening to the medieval book
Listening to the medieval book

Go on, judge a book by its sound. The thinner the parchment, the higher the pitch—and the price.

A medieval textbook
A medieval textbook

This 1000-year-old math primer is nothing fancy, but it took months for a scribe to make.

Johannes Vermeer, <em>Girl with a Pearl Earring</em>
Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring

This enigmatic character study was dubbed the “Dutch Mona Lisa.” The turban and pearl add a touch of the exotic.