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The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn

    The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn

    The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn was created in 1652. The painting is in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The size of the work is 144 x 171 cm and is made as an oil on canvas.

    A swan fiercely defends its nest against a dog. In later centuries this scuffle was interpreted as a political allegory: the white swan was thought to symbolize the Dutch statesman Johan de Witt (assassinated in 1672) protecting the country from its enemies. This was the meaning attached to the painting when it became the very first acquisition to enter the Nationale Kunstgalerij (the forerunner of the Rijksmuseum) in 1880.

    About the Artist: Dutch Golden Age painter Jan Asselijn was born at Dieppe. He received instruction from Esaias van de Velde (1587–1630), and distinguished himself particularly in landscape and animal painting. He traveled in France and Italy, and modeled his style after Bamboccio (Pieter van Laer). Their marriages brought both Asselijn and Helt-Stockade back to the Netherlands after their travels. Asselijn had a withered hand and was small of stature, which gave him the nickname in France of petit Jean Hollandois, and which gave him the nickname Krabbetje (little claw) in the Bentvueghels… Read more

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