In 1611 construction of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, designed by Hendrik de Keyser, was completed at the head of the Rokin and the southern side of the Dam Square. The architectural painter De Witte gives a lively image of the busy trade in the 'World Trade Centre' of the Golden Age.
Emelie Gevalt asked
Is the older man on the left, dressed in black and wearing a skullcap, likely to be a priest or a rabbi? Or was the skullcap more generally worn? And is the man with the coin in his hand wearing eastern dress? Or is it just less fashionable European dress?
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered
Thank you for your interesting question! A reproduction of the painting is included in the book ‘Geschiedenis van de Joden in de Nederlanden’ (History of the Jews in the Netherlands). Although the text in the book does not go into detail about the relationship of the painting to the theme of the book, it seems likely that the man on the left, dressed in black and wearing a yarmulke, is indeed Jewish. This would also correspond to the situation in the Dutch republic, and in particular Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, where the Jewish population grew spectacularly.
I have not been able to discover the identity of the man holding a coin. However, as the new Exchange Building shown on the painting was a lively trade center uniting merchants and brokers form all over the world, it is possible that this man is a trader from the east. This impression is strengthened by the pointy moustache of the man, his sleeveless vest and what appears to be his fur hat, all clearly differing from the attire of the (presumably) Dutch men on the right. Moreover, another man in the painting appearing ‘exotic’ (the man wearing a turban and a red dress) is placed strikingly near to the coin-man in the composition, possibly emphasizing a shared ‘foreignness’.
Another figure that might interest you in is the man in front of the column, directing his gaze towards the viewer. Some have argued that this man represents de Witte’s patron.
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|Title||Courtyard of the Exchange in Amsterdam|
|Material and technique||Oil on panel|
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
|Location||This object is in storage|
Width 47,5 cm
Height 49 cm
Emanuel de Witte
|Accession number||VdV 91|
|Credits||Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Willem van der Vorm 1972|
|Creation date||in 1653|
|Age artist||About 36 years old|
|Collector||Collector / Willem van der Vorm|
The Collection Enriched (2011)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
Meester van het licht (2017)
|Geographical origin||Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe|
Please note: The metadata of this object have not been checked.
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All about the artist
Emanuel de Witte
Alkmaar 1617 - Amsterdam 1692
Around the 1640s, Emanuel de Witte became a pupil of the Delft-based still life artist Evert van Aelst. In 1652 he moved to Amsterdam. From 1641, De Witte...Bekijk het volledige profiel