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Special Event - The Flemish Merchant of Venice

The Flemish Merchant of Venice

Author Christina M. Anderson on Daniel Nijs, the man who orchestrated the greatest art deal of the seventeenth century.

In 1627-28, Charles I of England purchased the cream of the Gonzaga art collection, belonging to the dukes of Mantua, in what would become the greatest art deal of the 17th century. Among the treasures sold were ancient statues and stunning paintings by Titian, Raphael, Correggio, and Rubens. The Flemish Merchant of Venice examines this fascinating and significant art sale from the perspective of the man who orchestrated it—Daniel Nijs (1572–1647), a Flemish merchant, Calvinist refugee, collector, and dealer living in Venice, as well as an early investor in East India Company and nephew by marriage of Samuel Godin, the Flemish administrator of the Dutch West India Company for whom Godyn’s Bay (now Delaware Bay) was named.

In her book, Christina Anderson brings Nijs to life, asserting that he was more than the avaricious and unscrupulous trader that most modern writers and scholars deem him to be. Through describing Nijs’s unique talent as a dealer, rooted in superior commercial skills; an global trading network that stretched from India to South America; connections to artistic, diplomatic and international Protestant circles, and a deep love of art, she reveals that Nijs was the pivotal figure involved with the Gonzaga sale, though also—when he later fell into bankruptcy and dishonour due to a deal gone awry—the most tragic.

The Flemish Merchant of Venice is one of the 11 best art books of 2015 as selected by Leo Robson, art critic for the New Statesman, for Christie’s International. It is published by Yale University Press.

Christina Anderson’s earliest career ambition was to become a global explorer. She realized this goal through travelling and discovering for herself some of the world’s greatest artistic heritage. As an undergraduate, she studied history at Yale University where she also began to play the carillon, a tower bell instrument developed in the Low Countries. She went on to study at the world’s oldest carillon school in Mechelen, Belgium first as a Fulbright scholar and then as a Belgian American Educational Foundation fellow. She later earned her doctorate at the University of Oxford in art history. Currently, she serves as a British Academy postdoctoral fellow in the History Faculty at the University of Oxford where she is completing her second book on the Flemish merchant diaspora between 1450 and 1650. She is also the Research Fellow in the Study of Collecting at the Ashmolean Museum.

This event is co-sponsored by the Explorers Club, the Clark Art Institute and the General Representation of the Government of Flanders.

Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Time: 6:30 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Talk

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $25

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