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Courtyard of the Exchange in Amsterdam

Courtyard of the Exchange in Amsterdam

Emanuel de Witte (in 1653)

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  • Christy Richtsmeier asked

    Hello! I was wondering if there are any records of who the commissioner was for this painting, or if there are any speculations? Thank you!

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Hello Christy, I am afraid that I can only answer your question in general terms. Because the scene focuses on the figures, instead of the (then new) building, experts think that one of the traders commissioned the painting, in fact the man who is looking outward towards us, the viewers. Unfortunately our registration system does not have information about who he was. Therefor you will need to dive into the literature about Witte (maybe also the archives) to find a (possible) answer. Kind regards, Els

  • 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

    Dear Emelie,
    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.
    Kind regards,


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More information

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.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title Courtyard of the Exchange in Amsterdam
Material and technique Oil on panel
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 47,5 cm
Height 49 cm
Artists Painter: Emanuel de Witte
Accession number VdV 91
Credits Loan Foundation Willem van der Vorm, 1972
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1972
Creation date in 1653
Collector Collector / Willem van der Vorm
Internal exhibitions The Collection Enriched (2011)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
External exhibitions Meester van het licht (2017)
VOC (2017)
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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...

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