But what the Dutch adored above all were flowers: they became a national obsession, as new species came in from all over the globe. The craze even caused an economic bubble, the 'Tulip mania' - in March 1637, when some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.
The Dutch Golden Age also begat a great deal of art and popularised still-life painting. These scenes prolonged the experience of nature; finely painted blooms could cheer up a brutal Dutch winter.
This April, coinciding with Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Flower Show, the National Gallery stage an exhibition exploring Dutch flower painting from its beginnings in the early 17th century to its peak in the late 18th century.
We'll encounter the leading artists in the field: Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Jan van Huysum, and Rachel Ruysch, providing a chance to admire their stylistic and technical characteristics. Come an celebrate Spring at this lovely little show.
|What||Dutch Flowers, National Gallery|
|Where||National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
06 Apr 16 – 29 Aug 16, Daily 10am – 6pm Friday 10am – 9pm, Closed 1 January and 24-26 December
|Website||Click here for more information|