This beautifully illustrated, expansive overview of Dutch and Flemish art during the 17th century illuminates the creative achievements of one of the most important eras in western art. The Golden Age in Holland and Flanders roughly spanned the 17th century and was a period of enormous advances in the fields of commerce, science--and art. Still lifes, landscape paintings, and romantic depictions of everyday life became valued by the increasingly wealthy merchant classes in the Dutch provinces, while religious and historic paintings as well as portraits continued to appeal to the Flemish patronage. The Golden Age brought us Rembrandt, Vermeer, Rubens, and Van Dyck, but it was also the period of Frans Hals' revolutionary portraiture, Adriaen Brouwer's depictions of the working class at play, Jan Brueghel's velvety miniatures, and Hendrick Avercamp's lively winter landscapes. Norbert Wolf applies his vast understanding of the interplay between history, culture, and art to explore the forces that led to the Golden Age in Holland and Flanders and how this period influenced later generations of artists. Accompanied by luminous color illustrations, Wolf's accessible text considers the complex political, religious, social, and economic situation that led to newfound prosperity and, thus, to an enormous artistic output that we continue to marvel at and enjoy today.