Northern Renaissance: the fifteenth century
In the 15th century, the northern European countries we know today as Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were controlled by the enormously wealthy Dukes of Burgundy (Burgundy is a region in France). Today the 15th century in this region is often referred to today as the Burgundian Netherlands. The court of the Dukes of Burgundy were the most important patrons of the early Northern Renaissance, but newly wealthy private citizens also commissioned art as part of a growing interest in private meditation and prayer. Portraits were also commissioned in growing numbers.