Georg Sturm: The justice of count William III 'the Good' of Holland (1885)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

An historical scene by the Austrian artist Georg Sturm (1855-1923). The depicted story is about Count William III of Holland (1286-1337). Accordign to the story a farmer was living near the town of Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. The bailiff of Kennemerland (a bailiff was a high ranking official who represented his lord in a certain given area) wanted to buy a cow from the farmer but the farmer refuses -  the cow is not for sale. The bailiff refuses to accept this and replaces the good cow of the farmer by a bad cow. The farmer finds out and complains to the count of Holland (the master of the bailiff of Kennemerland). The count of Holland orders the bailiff to come to him personally so he can explain himself. The bailiff first tries to flee the country but is apprehanded by soldiers. After the bailiff is brought to the count, a trial is held. The sentence of the count was that the farmer was to be given a financial compensation and the return of the cow. The bailiff was to be beheaded for this offence. The painting shows the farmer and his wife on the left (the farmer is kissing the robe of count William III as express his gratitude) with the bailiff of Kennemerland kneeling on the right (a soldier is already readying himself to behead the baliff). The scene was very popular in the Netherlands and was used as an example of 'good justice'. Painting from around 1885.

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