Monday, March 7, 2016

Artist Names: Dutch Golden Age

Hallo, lezers!

Today's post is another installment in Artist Names, this time focusing on the Dutch Golden Age! In the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic (now more or less the Netherlands) had entered a time of prosperity, leading to increases in cultural wealth. Artists and artisans flourished during this time, and some of the most iconic paintings were created during this century.

Again, there are a lot of old white men listed, and one white woman. Tell me what other eras, places, and people you'd like me to focus on for this series!

Pieter Claesz
A painter of still lifes, Pieter Claesz focused on portrayed light and texture in the most realistic way possible. Reflections and symbols are also a large part of his work - he followed the ideals of the Vanitas movement, which sought to remind the wealthy Dutch people that material prosperity could not compare to spiritual riches. The name Pieter is the Dutch form of Peter, from the Greek meaning "rock". Pieter is in the top 100 names in the Netherlands, and could be a cool ancestral honorific. Otherwise, the spelling might confuse native English speakers.

Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp
Coming from a family of artists, Aelbert Cuyp was a leading painter in Dutch landscapes. He also focused on illustrating light, but sought to portray natural exterior light rather than interior light. Interestingly, his involvement with the Calvinist Church seems to have halted his career: the superficiality of art was not a spiritual ideal. Aelbert and Jacobsz are the Dutch cognates of Albert and Jacob. Jacob is obviously popular in the US, but Albert has also been trending up recently due to the retro trends and its many namesakes!

Carel Pietersz Fabritius
A pupil of Rembrandt, Carel Fabritius developed a lighter, more unique style than many of his colleagues before his untimely death in a neighborhood explosion. Only a handful of his paintings survived. One such painting (The Goldfinch, above) gained publicity recently when a fictional book about the painting topped the bestseller list in 2013 (it's excellent and I highly recommend it). The name Carel is a variation of Charles, and sounds a bit like the feminine Carol. However, I think Carel, nickname Cary, could be a nice alternative to Cory or Charlie!

Judith Jans Leyster
One of the few notable female names that survived history, Judith Leyster was known for her upbeat portrait paintings. Her work was ascribed to male artist Frans Hals for years until proven hers. She was greatly involved in the artist community during her life, and collaborated with many. The name Judith, after declining for decades, has recently begun to rise again. The name means "woman from Judea", and is mentioned in the Bible and Torah. The nickname Jude is a nice upgrade from dated Judy, and could be perfect for a strong little one!

Rembrandt van Rijn
Arguably the most important artist in Dutch history, Rembrandt van Rijn is well-known today for his paintings and etchings. Rembrandt himself identified his goal to produce "the greatest and most natural movement" on canvas, and his many landscapes, portraits, and etchings show his desire for naturalism. While the name Rembrandt is pretty much only associated with the artist, there were 5 Rembrandt's born in the US in 2011, and 10 born in 2013. I think the name would make an excellent middle name - as a first it would be heck to live up to!

Johannes Vermeer
Famous for Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer was not much of a success during his lifetime. He made few paintings and little money - only recently has much of his life and work come to light. Vermeer focused on domestic interior scenes, which makes sense, being that he had an extensive family - his ten children were named Maertge, Elisabeth, Cornelia, Aleydis, Beatrix, Johannes, Gertruyd, Franciscus, Catharina, and Ignatius. The name Johannes lives on in the US through John, and I personally think the names of his children are more unusual and interesting!

Tell me your favorite names in the comments!

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