Article ID: CBB734463398

Spinoza, Radical Enlightenment, and the General Reform of the Arts in the Later Dutch Golden Age: The Aims of Nil Volentibus Arduum (2020)


The Amsterdam theater society Nil Volentibus Arduum, which was founded in 1669 and remained active for some years, was not just a circle meeting regularly to discuss theater theory and practice, but was devoted to discussion of all the arts as well as language theory in relation to society. As far as the Amsterdam theater was concerned, its main purpose was to try to raise the level and provide more of a moral and socially improving direction to the stage. Arguably, also, it had a certain impact on discussion and theorizing about late Dutch Golden Age painting. Two of its most active members, Lodewijk Meyer and Johannes Bouwmeester, were among the closest friends and allies of Spinoza. Opponents and detractors of the society took to associating it in the public mind with the “atheist” Spinoza. This article seeks to understand the theoretical concerns of the society and assess its relationship to its broader Dutch context and to Spinoza and Spinozism.

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Authors & Contributors
de Jong, Theo
Christy Anderson
Anne Dunlop
Cressman, Darryl
Drago, Elisabeth Berry
Seelig, Gero
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Food and History
Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globen- und Instrumentenkunde
Hirmer Verlag
University of Delaware
Queen's University at Kingston (Canada)
University of Chicago Press
Uitgeverij Vantilt
National Gallery of Art
Science and art
Painters and painting
Visual representation; visual communication
Natural history
Spinoza, Baruch
Hudde, Johannes
Wijck, Thomas
Otto Marseus van Schriek
Everdingen, Allaert van
Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, Gonzalo
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
Early modern
19th century
Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Atlantic Ocean
Indian Ocean
Delft (Netherlands)
Scandinavia; Nordic countries

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