m in the studio of Pieter Lastman, returning again to his native town Leyden during the intermediate seven or eight years.
Until the period of Rembrandt's settling in Amsterdam, this city, although having been long the metropolis of the Northern Netherlands, had not been very different in aspect to other important Dutch towns; its seventeenth-century buildings belong to the same school of architecture as those of the other cities, like Haarlem, Alkmaar, Leyden. Its immense prosperity and development as Europe's most important seaport since about 1600, however, originated a notable change: its aspect gradually became more individual, until in the second part of the golden century it had assumed the grandeur worthy of "the capital of Europe, the neighbours' support and hope," as our greatest poet then justly called her. Important buildings and a very logically and royally planned extension of its canals and streets were the causes of this alteration. We do not know of any other big town of that period so
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