Do you agree that artists are society's blood-suckers, as politicians all over the world claim, when they eliminate subsidies to the arts?

You might wonder why so many of the illustrations are Dutch. The reason is that in the 16th and 17th centuries the Dutch became deplorably rich, due to their handling of their colonies. That wealth trickled down to the population and resulted in Dutch renaissance of the arts. This doesn't mean that other world-powers of that day were not equally rich. They were, but they managed to prevent the money from reaching either the proletariat or the artists.