• The man portrayed here, Dr Ephraim Bueno (1599-1665), was a well-known Jewish physician and man of letters. Rembrandt painted this sketch in oils in 1647. It is a preliminary study for an etching of Dr Bueno. It is the only known sketch in oils for a portrait print by Rembrandt.

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  • Title The Peace Negotiations between Claudius Civilis and Cerealis

    Year c. 1660-70

    Standing on opposite sides of a demolished bridge are two warriors. They are negotiating across the divide. The man on the right is Cerealis, recognisable as a Roman from the standard with an eagle behind him. His men are pictured higher up. The man opposite him is Claudius Civilis, a Batavian. His followers are refreshing themselves in the river in the foreground. Fame (Fama) floats in the sky above. She is crowning the two leaders with laurel wreaths.

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  • The story of the Massacre of the Innocents is found in the Bible.
    After the birth of Jesus, King Herod heard that a new king of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem.
    Having no way to recognise the child, he ordered his soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem younger than two.
    Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph had already fled with the baby Jesus to Egypt. They remained there until after the death of Herod.
    In 1590 Cornelis van Haarlem painted a blood-curdling picture of the Massacre of the Innocents.
    The subject had never before been tackled on so large and ambitious a scale.

    Artist Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

    Year 1590

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  • A crowd has gathered outside a bookshop and lottery agency in Amsterdam's Kalverstraat. It is 25 October, 1779, and the sale of lottery tickets for the 66th General Lottery has begun. Men, bent on obtaining a ticket, push and shove around the entrance. The eighteenth-century architectural painter, Isaak Ouwater, has depicted the event in great detail. However, Ouwater has filled in much of the picture with windows and the red bricks of the houses - a highly unusual composition. Ouwater was commissioned to paint this work by Jan de Groot, the owner of the bookshop and lottery agency.

    Title The Bookshop and Lottery Agency of Jan de Groot on Kalverstraat in Amsterdam
    Year 1779
    Artist Isaak Ouwater
    Technique Oil on canvas
    Dimensions 38,5 x 33,5 cm

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  • Title The Bodies of the De Witt Brothers, Hanged at Groene Zoodje on Vijverberg in The Hague

    Artist Jan de Baen

    The 'Groene zoodje' on Vijverberg in The Hague, was, for a few days in August 1672, silent witness to this gruesome scene. Two naked bodies are hanging with their feet tied to the gallows. The belly of the body on the left has been ripped open. It is night time and the bodies are illuminated by a burning torch. These are the bodies of the De Witt brothers, Cornelius and Johan. Both played prominent roles in the Stadholderless Period (1651-1672). As the pensionary, Johan had been the most powerful statesman in the Republic for a long time. In the disaster year of 1672, their time was up, once and for all: Johan and Cornelius de Witt were lynched by a mob in The Hague.

    Johan De witt

    His pro-French policy however would prove to be his undoing. In the Dutch rampjaar (disaster year) of 1672, when France and England during the Franco-Dutch War (Third Anglo-Dutch War) attacked the Republic, the Orangists took power by force and expelled him. Recovering from an earlier attempt on his life in June, he was assassinated by a carefully organized lynch "mob" after visiting his brother Cornelis de Witt in prison. He was decoyed into this trap by a forged letter.

    After the arrival of Johan de Witt the city guard was sent away to stop plundering farmers, the farmers were not found. Without any protection against the assembled mob the brothers were doomed. They were taken out of the prison and on their way to the scaffold killed. Immediately after their death the bodies were mutilated and fingers toes and other parts were cut off. The heart of Cornelis de Witt was exhibited for many years next to his brother's by Dirck Verhoeff[citation needed].
    Nowadays most historians assume that his adversary and successor as leader of the government stadtholder William III of Orange was involved. At the very least he protected and rewarded the killers.

    Year c. 1672-1702


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