I’m meeting Merlin Melles in the Hermitage Amsterdam where the exhibition Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age just opened. The presentation features over thirty group portraits dating from the 17th century.
They represent the founder Carbon Network of the 17th century”‘ Merlin says with a smile.

Merlin Melles - Hermitage Amsterdam - fCN - Regenten ontbijt
Merlin Melles -“Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age” Hermitage Amsterdam – fCN

“The Founder Carbon Network organised a special breakfast for its members, right here in the Hermitage. It’s a great ambience to network… just like the regents of the 17th century did. And like our ancestors it’s a mix of social and business.”

While the power in the rest of Europe lay in the hands of rulers and church officials, the Republic of the Netherlands was ruled by the bourgeoisie. By governing city and country, trading, taking on the city’s defence, stimulating scientific developments and setting up and managing the social safety net, the citizens ensured that the Republic became one of the most powerful and prosperous nations in Europe. The exhibition literally and figuratively gives a face to these influential men and women, particularly those from the city of Amsterdam, and makes it clear how the 17th century mentality led to manners and standards that can still be recognised in contemporary society.”

Merlin Melles - Portraits of the Golden Age - fCN
Merlin Melles – Portraits of the Golden Age – fCN

“In addition to their efforts in the area of public order and safety, the wealthy upper-class citizens also took care of the administration of care and disciplinary institutions. In order to record their charitable activities and good governance, these regents and regentesses often had themselves portrayed at conference tables while engaged in their administrative tasks.
The paintings show that in 17th century Holland the board of a charity was by no means composed exclusively of men. The women who were also portrayed were even responsible for the daily running of the institutions.

Hermitage Amsterdam - Portraits of the Golden Age - fCN
Hermitage Amsterdam – Portraits of the Golden Age – fCN

“Typical Dutch cultural achievements such as egalitarianism, tolerance and liberty are explored in detail and Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age draws a parallel between the 17th century Republic and the Netherlands of today. A mirror is held up to the Dutch… for foreigners the exhibition offers an introduction to the Dutch mentality of the past and present.”

Meeting Merlin Melles in the Hermitage Amsterdam
Founder Carbon Network fCN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑