The Bourgeois Tavern
This is a companion article to "Inside the Bourgeois Home." Schama takes us into the dark and sinful world of the 17th century Amsterdam tavern, where he reveals whores plying their trade with the same gusto the merchants conducted trade at the newly formed Amsterdam stock exchange. In the end he is able to conclude that the depravity of the tavern served as a sponge soaking up the worldly filth that could otherwise infiltrate the home. As before, clicking on the paintings will provide a pop-up window with brief interpretation of the painting. Read Article

The Day of a King
Being an absolute monarch was exhausting…especially for Louis XIV. Looking at the immense palaces and stunning interiors only give us a vague hint of what his daily routine must have been like. One of the most comprehensive studies of lifestyle in the era was Lewis’ The Splendid Century. I’ve attempted to recreate the day of The King by selecting a few choice sections from Lewis’ book. It is as close as most of us will ever get to being King.Read Article

the Bourgeois Home

For many casual observers of history, what went on inside a Dutch Bourgeois home during the Baroque is best revealed by the genre paintings of the period. Less known are the subtle implications those paintings reveal inside that domestic bliss. Simon Schama’s 1987 book The Embarrassment of Riches is an extensive and original exploration of Dutch culture of the 17th century. The following is a passage where he is delving into the Bourgeois home-life and the complex interplay the maidservant had with her master/employer. Schama masterfully demonstrated the class, economic, and sexual tension bubbling beneath the tranquillity of domesticity. Clicking on any of the paintings will give you a quick pop-up window where I've briefly described the painting’s relevance to the article. Read Article
The Great Tulip Bubble
If you think speculation in the stock-market today is wild, consider the tulip bubble during the 17th century. I've always been fascinated by the similarity between our newly emerging information age and the similarly new industrial age of the Baroque. These Bourgeois capitalists gave us the first stock/commodities exchange in Amsterdam and along with its effective liquidity of capital came all the extremes of speculation...not unlike today's day-traders. Here's Burton Malkiel's description of the famous Tulip Bubble. Like today's internet stocks where fortunes are made and lost over night, looking to the past may in this case be like peeking into our future. Read Article

The Flemish Harpsichord
As the Baroque was in its most formative stage an instrument builder named Hans Ruckers revolutionized the design of the harpsichord to become the standard for most of the era. I explain the contributions of the Ruckers family in harpsichord design and even provide a link where I post a detailed blog revealing my own project of building and decorating an authentic Flemish Single harpsichord in the tradition of Ruckers. Read Article