Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xvi

This book benefited enormously from the kindness and generosity of many friends, colleagues, and total strangers, all of whom took time away from their own...

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CHAPTER 1: Prologue: A Tale of Two Paintings

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pp. 1-7

On the third floor of the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre in Paris is a gallery devoted to “Holland, First Half of the 17th Century.” “Room 27” is not one of the museum’s more traveled venues. Visitors, if they stop to...

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CHAPTER 2: The Philosopher

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pp. 8-35

On the west coast of Holland facing the North Sea are three small villages all bearing the name “Egmond,” after the noble family to which the lands once...

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CHAPTER 3: The Priest

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pp. 36-54

Around the time that Descartes was relocating among the major cities in Holland and Utrecht, seeking a peaceful place to pursue his research, a certain...

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CHAPTER 4: The Painter

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pp. 55-86

Among the thousands of people employed in the textile industry in the city of Antwerp, in the province of Brabant in the Spanish Netherlands, was one Franchois Hals. He worked...

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CHAPTER 5: “Once in a Lifetime”

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pp. 87-110

In a letter to his friend Claude Picot in 1649, Descartes describes the life he has been leading in Egmond de Abdij. The small village, just north of Haarlem, offers him “a solitude . . . as peaceful and with as much sweetness...

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CHAPTER 6: A New Philosophy

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pp. 111-142

In the fall of 1640, Descartes wrote to Mersenne in Paris to seek his advice. The Meditations were now ready to go to press, and he was unsure about the best way to...

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CHAPTER 7: God in Haarlem

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pp. 143-173

Dutch winters can be long and cold. In the mid-seventeenth century, they were especially so, as Europe was then going through a particularly severe stretch of...

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CHAPTER 8: The Portrait

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pp. 174-198

A Catholic priest wanted a portrait of his philosopher friend before his departure abroad. Did Augustijn Bloemaert turn to Frans Hals for this souvenir of a deeply...

Notes

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pp. 199-218

Bibliography

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pp. 219-226

Index

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pp. 227-230