s Renaissance Art styles of the 15th century spread from Italy to the northern European countries, they adapted and changed to accommodate local artistic preferences and cultural ideals. For example, the Protestant Reformation in the Netherlands turned away from religious paintings while portraiture and genre paintings, or scenes of everyday life, grew in popularity. A focused attention to detail, coupled with a sense of realism in the depiction of subjects, brought about naturalism within Northern European paintings. The art of Flanders (historically an area including and surrounding present-day Belgium) displays a robust materialism and technical achievement, with Flemish artists being among the first to use oil paints. Flemish art flourished from the late 15th century through the Baroque period of the 17th century. It witnessed the rise of a number of popular artists whose work was desired well beyond their country’s boundaries and thus had a broad influence. In Holland, the 17th century experienced the “Golden Age of Dutch Art,” a period that displayed numerous specialized categories of paintings. In addition to portraits and historical scenes, there appeared popular scenes of peasant life, townscapes, pastoral landscapes, still lifes and maritime paintings, among others.
Among the first Northern European artworks to enter the collection of The Mint Museum were those acquired by The Mint Museum Auxiliary in the 1960s. Through the dedication of Auxiliary volunteers, their projects generated funds for numerous art purchases, a tradition that continues today. The Mint Museum collection has been, and continues to be, further enhanced with important donations from art collectors located in Charlotte and beyond.