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Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore workshops in the Dutch Golden Age.

Art in the Dutch Golden Age

Traditionally, artists of the Dutch Golden Age operated out of independently run artist studios or workshops. The set up was distinct from that of Modern artists.

An artist studio comprised of a reputable art master, and his apprentices. The master was responsible for teaching and educating his apprentices. In turn would produce work in the style of the Master. In a modern context, this is a fascinating phenomenon. The master would often sign works made by his apprentice, with his own name. This implies that if a work signed is signed by Rembrandt, the master didn’t necessarily create it himself. Consequently, we use terms like ‘studio of’, ‘follower of’ or ‘in the style of’ to identify such works.

The era of artist studios came about due to a high demand in art. In the Dutch Golden Age, the national economy was booming. Therefore, people had higher disposable income. This allowed them to purchase more art. As a result, in order to match supply with demand, artist would set up studios where they could, in a way, ‘mass produce’ art to cater to the growing market. It is further interesting to note that the works created in such studios have different price points. Those created solely by the master were the most expensive, followed by one’s that were collaborations between master and student. In this way, by offering different price points, the artist could cater to different classes of the art market all at once. Thus maximising financial gains. This is what made art in the Dutch Golden Age so different from contemporary art.

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