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Questions of Dutchness

Svetlana Alpers, 4 August 1994

Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620 
by Wouter Kloek, translated by Michael Hoyle.
Yale, 720 pp., £60, January 1994, 0 300 06016 5
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... Until not so long ago it seemed Fromentin had got it right in 1876 when he celebrated Dutch art as offering a portrait of a new, free state: ‘un Etat nouveau, un art nouveau’, as he put it in Les Maîtres d’ autrefois, an account of his travels through Belgium and Holland. The humanised universe of Italian painting, with its emphasis on an idealised human body – indeed, the very notion of a universal humanity – was replaced, as he saw it and as many have seen it since, by the depiction of a specific and most ordinary visible world: a particular place, its towns, its landscape, its skies, domestic settings, the manners of its people ...

What news?

Patrick Collinson: The Pilgrimage of Grace, 1 November 2001

The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Politics of the 1530s 
by R.W. Hoyle.
Oxford, 487 pp., £30, May 2001, 9780198208747
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... The events of 1536-37, a watershed in the history of the North of England and regarded by R.W. Hoyle as England’s War of Religion (albeit a war in which almost no shots were fired), were in the perception of the time ‘commotions’, ‘tumults’, and this is how historians, too, can best understand them. The commotions themselves were all contained ...

For Those Who Don’t Know

Julian Bell: Van Gogh’s Letters, 5 November 2009

Vincent van Gogh: The Letters 
edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker, translated by Michael Hoyle et al.
Thames and Hudson, 2180 pp., £395, October 2009, 978 0 500 23865 3
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... A prim and eager young clerk, working for his art-dealer uncle, is writing to his schoolboy brother. Pictures and books are the 19-year-old’s meat and drink: he soon adds Millais, Dickens and George Eliot to his love for Jean-François Millet, when in 1873, Goupil & Co, agents in lithographs, steel engravings and ‘modern paintings’, send him from The Hague to their branch just off the Strand ...

Shee Spy

Michael Dobson, 8 May 1997

The Secret Life of Aphra Behn 
by Janet Todd.
Deutsch, 545 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 233 98991 9
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... relationship with the man whom Todd (again following Duffy) identifies as ‘Lycidus’, Jack Hoyle, who instead seems to have left her for a series of younger men. Hoyle is the only man ever reported to have kept Behn (so notorious was he that the information is drawn from a sermon), and it is hard to imagine how she ...

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