Jan Adam Kruseman: Portrait of the regents of the Amsterdam Leprosy Hospital (1834-1835)


(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A painting by the Dutch artist Jan Adam Kruseman (1804-1862). Like any other city in the Middle ages, Amsterdam had its own 'Leprosy Hospital'. Intended to quarantine people with leprosy these buildings were usually outside of the city walls. The old leprosy hospital, the saint George hospital in the kalverstraat, ended up inside of the town after 1480 so the patients were moved to a building at the corner of the Lazarussteeg and the Jodenbreestraat, the saint Anthony hospital. The number of people with leprosy fell over the course of the years so the building was used to house 'the simple' (mentally handicapt people), 'the insane' (psychiatric patients) and as an alms house. In a report in 1675 to the city council there were 36 lepers, 8 simple people and 14 'proveniers' (people who paid a one time fee and enjoyed board and lodging for 'free' for the rest of their lives). After the law for the poor of 1854 the leprosy hospital stopped being relevant and the city council of Amsterdam liquidated the institution in 1860. The Amsterdam leprosy hospital was financially very successful and financially helped other institutions and the city council of Amsterdam itself several times during their existence. At the time of this painting the building only functioned as an almshouse - all the other people had been moved to other more relevant buildings. The painting shows the board-of-directors (the regents) of the institution:

- Ludovicus Hamerster Ameshoff (1781-1842), Merchant, regent and politician - the man with glasses
- Jan van der Meer de Wijs (1814-1855)
- Michiel Abraham van Peene Pietersz,
- Jacoba Wilhelmina de Meyn, née van der Meulen,
- Sara Maria Joanna van der Poorten van Vollenhoven, née Berg,
- Catharina Elisabeth van Vloten, née Bagman (1806-1883)

Painting from 1834-1835.

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