Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde
Dutch, 1638 ‑ 1698
View of the Mauritshuis, The Hague, about 1690
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 × 25 1/2 in. (54.6 × 64.8 cm.)
Museum purchase, Preston Pope Satterwhite Fund 1979.21
What’s the Backstory?
The Hague served as the political and administrative center of the Dutch Republic. It was a small town with a princely court teeming with foreign envoys and other high-ranking officials. Berckheyde, one of the leading topographical artists of his day, did brisk business with his townscapes of The Hague. They appealed enormously to local citizens, who were well-known for their strong sense of civic pride. This is essentially a portrait of a building. The Mauritshuis was the former residence of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604 – 1679). After his death, the home was leased to the Dutch government. In Berckheyde’s painting, the ceremonious arrival of an enclosed ferry indicates that a dignitary has come for a visit.