1st Edition

The Sublime in the Visual Culture of the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic

By Stijn Bussels, Bram Van Oostveldt Copyright 2024
    208 Pages 25 Color & 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Contrary to what Kant believed about the Dutch (and their visual culture) as “being of an orderly and diligent position” and thus having no feeling for the sublime, this book argues that the sublime played an important role in seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture.

    By looking at different visualizations of exceptional heights, divine presence, political grandeur, extreme violence, and extraordinary artifacts, the authors demonstrate how viewers were confronted with the sublime, which evoked in them a combination of contrasting feelings of awe and fear, attraction and repulsion. In studying seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture through the lens of notions of the sublime, we can move beyond the traditional and still widespread views on Dutch art as the ultimate representation of everyday life and the expression of a prosperous society in terms of calmness, neatness, and order.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, visual culture, architectural history, and cultural history.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0) 4.0 International license. Funded by Ghent University.

    Introduction  Part 1  1. Hupsos: Franciscus Junius and the Reception of On the Sublime  2. Sublimis and le merveilleux: Dramatizing, Performing, and Picturing Phaethon’s Fall  Part 2  3. Vreese Godts: The Sublime and the Disappearance of God  4. Sublime Landscapes and Seascapes  Part 3  5. Magnificence: The Politics of Architecture  6. The Medusean Gaze: Terror and the Sublime  7. Wonder by Touch  Conclusion


    Stijn P.M. Bussels is Professor of Art History and Head of the Department of Art History at Leiden University Centre of the Arts in Society.

    Bram Van Oostveldt is Associate Professor at the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Studies at Ghent University.