There is a current art exhibit in San Francisco. The show is very impressive and includes many masterpieces from 17th century Holland. Particularly from the Mauritshuis in Amsterdam. The advertising for the show focuses on Vermeer's painting of a young girl with a pearl earring. Most of the show is about Rembrandt.
Amsterdam was at the time the center of global commerce, global intellectual life, publishing in every field of printed matter, the center of the new rational thought of the era, of scientific exploration including development of microscopes and telescopes, the locus of modern medical developments and the global center for art.
To those of you who fully appreciate this blog it is not a surprise that all of these development are concurrent with Amsterdam being the center of global commerce. Amsterdam had the largest fleet of trading ships on the planet and it covered every ocean on the globe from South East India, to Goa to New Amsterdam.
Commerce is always the stimulus for intellectual, technological and artistic proliferation.
What is shocking to me and a permanent disappointment is that the people who choose to make their life in the arts are most frequently the very people who deplore commerce.
These are people who cannot see that commerce is what makes the arts possible.
In some of my darker moods I wish that there were a God of Justice who would move all of the artists who complain about their lives in the commercial world to Mongolia, Siberia, Burma, North Korea or Yemen.