This post consists of a gallery of early modern Dutch Mennonite artists (or those who were a part of Mennonite milieus, even though they might not have been congregational members). The list is far from exhaustive, but it provides a quick sense of just how involved in the arts Mennonites were. For more details about Mennonite artists, or Anabaptist portrayed in art, click the tags “art” or “portrait”. Read more
Amsterdam’s Doopsgezind (aka Mennonite) church on the inner city canal ring called the Singel is a major landmark in the history of Dutch dissenters. Its modern address is Singel 452. The building did not and still does not look like a church from the outside. Since Mennonites did not enjoy rights of public worship in most part of the Netherlands until the 19th century, they usually made the outside of their meeting houses to look like a regular building (for more, see the Wikipedia article on clandestine churches). The Singelkerk is a major example of a Dutch clandestine church.
The Singel Church was the epicentre of the so-called “War of the Lambs” in the middle of the 17th century (see the building’s symbol). Read more
The Museum Van Loon in Amsterdam recently finished an exhibit of 18th-century family portraits. I’m posting a poster from that exhibit, plus 5 portraits of Doopsgezind families who lived in Amsterdam and Haarlem. The artworks are from the collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Museum. I plan eventually to add more details about these portraits and families; my goal is to place the expanded form of this post in the exhibits portion of this website. For now, click on an image to view it in more detail and to find links for more information.
For more details, click on the pictures.
In America the Sun of Salvation has risen, which will shine its rays upon us provided we so desire. Only America can revive our Trade and our Shipping…. America provides us again, if we dare look at it, a striking proof of how Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. America can teach us how to resist the degeneration of National Character, how to check the corruption of morals, how to prevent bribery, how to choke off the seeds of tyranny and restore moribund Liberty to health.
The title of this post is an allusion to Steven Nadler’s A Book Forged in Hell. That 2011 book is about Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, a work that scandalized secular and ecclesiastical authorities in the later 17th century — and has influenced philosophers and historians in recent years. The purpose of this post is to share a bibliography compiled by Piet Visser and his students in the 1990s. Piet retired in June 2014 from his professorship at the Mennonite seminary at the Free University in Amsterdam. Before that he was the chief curator of rare books and professor of book history at the University of Amsterdam. It’s in this earlier role that the list that you can find below originated.
Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708) is a major figure in the world of European art history in the era of the Dutch Golden Age. What’s more, he played a significant role in Anglo-Dutch politics around the time of the Glorious Revolution as a supporter of William of Orange / William III. He’s been the subject of a significant number of exhibitions and academic studies recently. For example, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has just finished an exhibit on “The Book Illustrations of Romeyn de Hooghe” (13 Sept. 2014 to 25 Jan. 2015). In this post I introduce an anonymous etching that I think might be by him (or maybe by his student Adriaan Schoonebeek).
Note: Since first publishing this post I have updated it a few times. One revision was from Feb. 8, and more thorough revisions are from Feb. 11 and 23. The main change in the most recent, thorough revisions is to downplay the importance of the 1660 edition of Hortensius.
Betje (Elizabeth) Wolff and Aagje (Agatha) Deken, who collaborated as life partners and co-authors over many years, are giants in the Dutch literary canon. They were also integrated into the same religious, cultural and political networks that included many Mennonites. Can the tools of digital scholarship (Voyant Tools, in particular) provide any special insights into their loooooong epistolary novels? This post provides readers and me the opportunity to try out answers to the question using two novels: Historie van mejuffrouw Sara Burgerhart (1782), and Historie van den heer Willem Leevend (1784-85).
From 21-23 January I will be participating in a conference on the theme of “Enlightened Religion — From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety”. It will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and it is part of the Faultline 1700 research project. Together with Jonathan Israel I will provide some closing thoughts at the end of the conference. In preparation for this privilege, I will provide a few ways of summarizing the conference proceedings — even before it begins. Read more
Under construction (Oct. 2017)
This is the opening post for a new blog about research on Dutch religious and political nonconformity before 1850. The purpose of the blog is to highlight the research of Prof. Mike Driedger and his colleagues. We are using the online medium because of the visual and interactive options that it offers.
There are three rotating banner images…
Another features a Dutch political cartoon from the mid 1780s.
In the centre of the cartoon is a caricature of François Adriaan van der Kemp, a preacher in the Mennonite (Doopsgezind) congregation of Leiden. Van der Kemp was a leading member of the Dutch Republic’s “Patriot” movement of the 1780s. The Patriots movement opposed what its members thought was Orange family tyranny. Although van der Kemp led a congregation of Mennonites, who traditionally rejected the use of violence, he himself acted as the captain of a group of citizen-soldiers who were prepared to defended the Patriot revolt against threats from Orangists. The Patriot movement collapsed in 1787 when faced with a foreign invasion in support of the Orange regime.
The image is from the Rijksmuseum collection in Amsterdam. Its title is “Spotprent op de Leidse predikant F.A. van der Kemp, 1786: Der Hedendaagsche Cantzel Huzaaren” (Caricature of the Leiden Preacher F.A. van der Kemp, 1786: Today’s Pulpit Militiaman). It is available online in high-def format as part of the Museum’s Rijksstudio project. The object number is RP-P-OB-85.549.