Vicente Carducho: The Martyrdom of the Roermond Carthusians (1626 - 1632)


(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A painting by the Italian artist Vicente Carducho (1568-1638). This painting from part of a whole set of 54 paintings for the Monasterio de Santa María de El Paular, a Carthusian monastery near Madrid, and were commissioned by its prior Juan de Baeza (d. 1641) . The set is dedicated to the history of the Carthusian Order: the life of its founder saint Bruno of Cologne and other important moments in the history of the order. This painting depicts a scene from the Dutch war of independence, the eighty years war (1568-1648). On April 1, 1572 a group of Dutch rebels managed to take the harbor city of Brielle - a turning point in the Dutch war against the Spanish empire. Prince William I ' the silent' of Orange, the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, was at that time in exile in Germany, having fled from the Spanish government, and heard of the succes of dutch rebels in the Netherlands - not only did they manage to take Brielle, other cities in the Western part of the Netherlands quickly fell to the Dutch rebels. To support the revolt, William of Orange launched an invasion of the Spanish Netherlands from 3 sides: 2 armies would attack the Spanish Netherlands from Germany and 1 would invade from the South. The army led by William of Orange attacked the Southern part of the Netherlands, now the provinces of North Brabant, Limburg and Flanders. One of the first cities to be attacked was the Spanish held city of Roermond. An army of 24,000 men attacked Roermond and managed to take it after 5 assaults. After the capture Roermond was pillaged - most of the citizens were left alone but 23 catholic priests and monks
were brutally murdered. The painting shows the attack on the Carthusian charterhouse at Roermond and the subsequent murder of 12 of its members (also known as the martyrs of Roermond). Painting from 1626-1632.

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