Essay about Vermeer's Hat, by Timothy Brook

Essay about Vermeer's Hat, by Timothy Brook

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Timothy Brook discusses in his book the aspects of world trade during the 17th century and how through the process of globalization, how regions became as interconnected as we know of today. Most people tend to have this conceptualized idea of what globalization is as well as its process. Throughout my educational career, globalization has always been portrayed as big businesses working together providing different goods and services worldwide. In other words, globalization simply involves big, fortune 500-esque companies and has no involvement from anyone else. In the text, however, Brook gives a different interpretation and does so by examining six different paintings by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Instead of focusing primarily on the obvious aspects of each painting, Brook draws the readers’ attention to a variety of intricate details and provides insight for all of them. This helps support his belief that globalization can be traced back to the events of the 17th century and had contributions from several individuals.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, globalization can be defined as the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets. In Vermeer’s painting, Officer and Laughing Girl (1658), the untrained eye would simply see an apparent couple engaging in conversation. Brook, however, focuses on the grandiose hat worn by Vermeer in the painting. Being that the hat was made out of felt, it serves as a focal point for the type of globalization that was taking place during this time: the transcontinental fur trade. During this time in France, fur was in high demand but the availability of fur bearing animal...

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...g. The tying together each small item to the events of world history symbolizes how the overarching theme of globalization involves many different aspects. Samuel Champlain’s excursion which could’ve been seen as complete accident actually helped establish a very profitable fur trade between North America. Chinese porcelain and its high demand introduced the world to the wonders of China as well as the rest of the world to China. Tobacco became a popular commodity of trade and was exported globally. Along with discoveries of routes, goods, and beliefs, and other things, the movement of people was, and still is, the most vital part of globalization. Without it, history wouldn’t be the same.

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