Caesar van Everdingen: Officers of the old Civic Guard of Alkmaar (1657)

(Stedelijk Museum, Alkmaar, the Netherlands)

A painting by the Dutch artist Caesar van Everdingen (1616/1617 - 1678). Depicted on this painting is one of the two civic guard units of the Dutch town of Alkmaar. The 'old civic guard' was first mentioned around 1387 and used the footbow (= crossbow) as its weapon. A second civic guard was raised ('the young civic guard') around 1450 and used the longbow as its weapon Each civic guard had two companies: the old civic guard had a blue and orange company, the young civic guard had a green and white company. Each company had about 12 squads of 10-13 men, giving a total of a bout 600 men for the entire civic guard of Alkmaar. Caesar van Everdingen, he lived in Alkmaar, received a commission of make a group portrait of the officers of both civic guards. This painting shows the officers of the old civic guard, the more prestigious of the two. The officers of both old civic guard companies are depicted who are easily identified by their colored sash. Only the names of the two captains of the companies are known: Jacob Cornelisz. Baert (1612 - 1668), captain of the orange company (the man on the stairs in the middle with the orange sash and staff) and Cornelis Jacobsz. Groot (? - 1661), captain of the blue company (the man on the stairs in the middle with the blue sash and staff). The other men are the standard-bearers, the provost (in the center with small staff), the luitenants and the sergeants. painting from 1657.