The Dutch Golden Age: Mennonite to the Core
A four-part series instructed by Dr. Lauren Friesen

Oct. 13, 15, 27, 29. Each session will begin at 7:00 pm and be one hour and fifteen minutes long.

The Dutch Golden Age was an era when the visual arts, medicine, business, education, theatre, poetry, theology, and publication flourished. Mennonites were deeply engaged with all of these disciplines. This illustrated presentation will cover the basic contours of the Mennonite involvement. Attention will be given to the leaders in the Golden Age Carel van Mander, (art schools), Nicolas Bidloo (medicine), Joost von den Vondel (drama), Hans de Reis (Benevolent Society), and Rembrandt’s complex affiliation with the Mennonites.

The Dutch Golden Age is often heralded as the third great age in cultural development in the West. The other two were the Greek and the Roman Golden Ages. What is often not examined is the extent to which Mennonites were instrumental in that artistic movement. They made advances in painting, etching, poetry, theatre, architecture, social services, business, education, science, and medicine. These four lectures will examine that contribution. I will highlight the artistic developments that included Rembrandt, the medical advances with the Bidloos, educational programs by van Mander, and the theatre works by Joost van den Vondel. The question, was Rembrandt a Mennonite, will be addressed with some surprising insights from recent scholarship. The Dutch Golden Age laid the foundation for what The Netherlands is today and I will focus on those origins.

Instructor's Bio
Dr. Lauren Friesen is the David M. French Professor Emeritus from the University of Michigan. He received a BA (Bethel College), MDiv (Mennonite Biblical Seminary), MA (Pacific School of Religion) and a PhD with honors from Graduate Theological Union and the University of California-Berkeley. He has lectured at numerous universities including Marburg (Germany), University of California, Purdue, Indiana, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ohio State and Free Universities (Berlin). His latest publication is Prairie Lands, Private Landscapes: Reframing a Mennonite Childhood. The Kennedy Center awarded him the “Gold Medallion” for excellence in University and College Theatre.
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