The Golden Age of Dutch Art

The Golden Age of Dutch Art

And the Dutch East India Company (VOC)

Join author Ian Burnet for an illustrated history of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and related art

When: Tuesday 5.30 - 6.30 PM, 13 February 2018

Where: Seminar Room 344, New Law School Annexe, University of Sydney


The Dutch East India Company (VOC), one of the world’s first joint stock companies, was founded in 1602 and held a state monopoly over trade with the Far East. It was the riches of Indonesian spices, Chinese silks and porcelains, Indian textiles, Japanese silver and other Asian trade goods that brought huge profits to its shareholders and the Dutch Republic.

During this era of unparalleled wealth, power and cultural confidence, the art of painting flourished like never before. Wealthy merchants and important officials were able to enhance their prestige by commissioning works of art, often of themselves, their new lifestyle, of maritime trade and scenes from every-day life.

Ian Burnet, author of Spice Islands, will give an illustrated history of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and provide historical context to the exhibition of Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age, currently at the Art Gallery of NSW.

This event is co-hosted with Perspectives on the Past (PoP).

About the Speaker

Ian Burnet has spent thirty years, living, working and travelling in Indonesia and his books show his fascination with the diverse history of the archipelago. Spice Islands tells the 2000 year history of the spice trade from the Moluccas of Eastern Indonesia until the spices reached Europe. East Indies tells of the 200 year struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for trade supremacy in the Eastern Seas. Archipelago takes us on a journey across the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Where Australia Collides with Asia tells of the epic voyages of natural history taken by Continent Australia, Joseph Banks, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

Image: An emblem of the VOC showing a Dutch merchant ship together with King Neptune and his consort. 1651 by Jeronimus Becx the Younger, Rijksmuseum.