Ceiling of the Burgomasters' Chamber

Jan Gerritsz van Bronckhorst1656

Royal Palace Amsterdam

Royal Palace Amsterdam

The panel on the right shows a seated woman holding two keys in her right hand and a sceptre and crown in her left. She is surrounded by putti holding various objects, including a palm frond, a wreath of oak leaves, two large books, a suit of armour, a spear and the flag bearing the civic crest of Amsterdam.
On the left-hand panel are flying putti holding various attributes. From top to bottom, these are: an imperial crown, a laurel wreath, an olive branch, a fasces and a trumpet. The imperial crown refers to the city of Amsterdam, the laurel wreath is a symbol of victory and the olive branch a symbol of peace, while the fasces (a bundle of rods from which an axe protrudes) stands for justice and unity and the trumpet for fame.

Additional information:
The woman symbolises Prestige and Respect. The keys she is holding up stand for the power of God and the sceptre for worldly power. The books – perhaps the Old and New Testament – represent learning, while the weapons protect peace but yield to knowledge. The name of the painter, Bronckhorst, is inscribed on the cover of one of the volumes. The putto with the palm frond and wreath of oak leaves appears to be presenting these attributes to the burgomasters. The palm frond stands for victory and fame and the wreath for the civic crown. Taken together, the two panels represent Amsterdam as an illustrious and triumphant city where justice, godliness and peace prevail.

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  • Title: Ceiling of the Burgomasters' Chamber
  • Date Created: 1656
  • Place Part Of: Netherlands
  • Display: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Description: Oil on Canvas
  • Artist: Jan van Bronckhorst
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: © Stichting Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam. Photo: Wim Ruigrok.