New data visualizations on the Mechelen export industry and artist migration patterns
This study is based on a new relational database, Mechelen, a significant, but understudied South Netherlandish art production complex in the early modern period. Large aggregates of Mechelen paintings were produced for export throughout Europe and the Americas between 1540 and 1680. This contribution provides a data driven analysis of first-stop and last-stop artist migration destinations. The new dalmi database includes a reliable count of the aggregate of Mechelen artist numbers (N=1473), their active periods, commercial/dealer networks, migration patterns and destinations that goes beyond anything before attempted. A noticeable migration started as early as 1540. Antwerp emerged as the first stop destination from 1540 to 1700, followed by final destinations (1) Amsterdam, (2) Delft and (3) Brussels. In the second half of the sixteenth century, Mechelen artists began to move to Delft from 1566 until 1613, and to Amsterdam until 1690. Surprisingly, Delft (and not Haarlem or Frankenthal) was chosen by a significant number of socalled water painters (19), who, because they used a water-based medium, could easily be employed in the tapestry industry.
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