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In Rockox’s time, the Cleyn Salette was a reception room, a room with grandeur that today exudes a Renaissance atmosphere. The Renaissance was a key period in history and was symbolic in many ways of the broadening of horizons. New continents and their cultures were being discovered, science flourished and there was a fresh and detailed study of classical antiquity. The most important development, though, was perhaps the introduction of printing during this period. With the advent of humanism, the individual came to stand central. Subtle criticism of society was also expressed. In the pictorial arts, we see a realism that is stripped of idealism. The naked figure came into its own, the process of secularisation gradually revealed itself in iconography and religion was targeted. The landscape and the still life – mainly of decorative importance in religious scenes during the Middle Ages – developed to become themes in their own right in painting.
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