Bartholomeus van der Helst: Officers of the company of captain Cornelis Jansz. Witsen and lieutenant Johan Oetgens van Waveren at the civic guard's banquet in celebration of the Treaty of Münster (1648)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

My favorite civic-guard piece. On May 15, 1648 the Treaty of Münster was signed which made an end to the Dutch war of Independece (1568-1648). With this treaty the Netherlands was finally recognized as an independent country by Spain (before that the netherlands used to be a part of the Spanish empire). The treaty was a reason for celebration throughout the Netherlands and these members of the Crossbowmen civic guard are holding a large banquet to celebrate the new peace. The names of these 25 men are known but not everybody can be identified. The only 2 we know for sure are the captain, the lieutenant and the standardbearer. The captain Cornelis Jansz. Witsen is the sitting person with the large drinking horn. The lieutenant Johan Oetgens van Waveren is sitting opposite of him, both are shaking their hands - they are congratulating eachother on the new peace. The standardbearer Jacob Banningh is sitting in front of the table with his large flag.
Present on the painting are:

- Captain Cornelis Jansz. Witsen, regent of Amsterdam (served a lot of high politcal functions within Amsterdam)
- lieutenant Johan Oetgens van Waveren, lord of Waveren, became mayor of Amsterdam in 1670
- standardbearer Jacob Banningh
- Dirck Claesz Thoveling, sergeant
- Thomas Pietersz. Hartog, pharmacist and sergeant in the civic guard 
- Pieter van Hoorn, 
- Willem Pietersz van der Voort, 
- Adriaen Dirck Sparwer, 
- Hendrick Calaber, silkmerchant
- Govert van der Mij, 
- Johannes Calaber, 
- Benedictus Schaeck, lord of Ankeveen, merchant
- Jan Maes, director of the spinhuis in Amsterdam 
- Jacob van Diemen, 
- Jan van Ommeren, 
- Isaac Ooyens, merchant
- Gerrit Pietersz van Anstenraadt, winemerchant
- Herman Teunisz de Kluyter, baker
- Andries van Anstenraadt, 
- Christoffel Poock, 
- Hendrick Dommer Wz, 
- Paulus Hennekijn, painter
- Lambregt van den Bos, pharmacist and poet
- Willem, drummer

Also present on the painting is a servant (he is filling a glas of 1 of the officers), a woman who is bringing a large peacockpie and the innkeeper Christoffel Pook. On the drum is a paper attached on which a poem of Jan Vos is written:
Belloone walgt van bloedt, ja Mars vervloeckt het daveren/ van 't zwangere metaal, en 't zwaardt bemint de Scheê:/ Dies bieidt de dapp're Wits aan d'eedele van Waveren/ Op 't eeuwige verbondt, den hooren van de Vreê.

The poem on the drum proclaims the joy of Amsterdam’s civic guard that their weapons can henceforth be laid to rest.  The drinking horn which the captain is holding is reffered in the poem as the 'horn of peace'. This massive silver drinking horn (lenght of 61 cm, height of 40 cm) was the property of the Crossbowmen civic guard and is still presereved today.

The building that these men are sitting are is the first floor of the Crossbowmen’s Guild target practice building (the Voetboogdoelen, today the main office of the Amsterdam University Library). In the center of the painting you can see building through a window, this is the building opposite of the Voetboogdoelen), - the brewery 'Het Lam'. 

This painting was highly praised when it was finished and it was seen as a better painting then The Night Watch of Rembrandt. Bartholomeus van der Helst recieved a lot of new commissions because of this painting. Painting from 1648

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