Group Portrait of the Amsterdam Shooting Corporation
Jacobsz, Dirck.
Oil on canvas. 115x160 cm
Netherlands. 1532

See the painting

Source of Entry: Collection of Count von Bruhl, Dresden. 1769

With the growing self-awareness of the burghers, the middle classes, and their new sense of unity and common purposes in life, group portraits begin to make their appearance in Netherlandish painting.

This is one of the earliest examples of such a work. Jacobsz showed the members of the Amsterdam Shooting Corporation wearing the reddish-blue robe and flat black hat that was their uniform.

The figures are placed overlapping one another, forming a three-tier composition. In the centre, the head of the guild can be identified by his metal armour and the musket in his hands. On the robe of one of the men in the foreground is an eagle's talon, the Corporation's emblem. Before us are men of different ages, of varied appearance and temperament, each of them an individual with his own character. At the same time the members of the shooting corporation - whose main functions were the maintenance of public order and the protection of the city from enemies from outside - are united by their common understanding of the social significance of the collective as a whole and by pride in being a member of that collective.

Text from the site of The Hermitage Museum

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