The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn
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THE PAINTING THE THREATENED SWAN BY JAN ASSELIJN
Original: oil on canvas 171 x 144 cm wxh
Jan Asselijn's world-famous painting The Threatened swan depicts a swan protecting her eggs from a dog. Below the swan is De Raad-Pensionaris, a reference to Johan de Witt. On one of the eggs is Holland, a reference to the Earldom of Holland, and above the dog is 'De Viand van de Staat'. These inscriptions, later added to The Threatened swan, give the scene an allegorical meaning of Johan de Witt protecting Holland from the enemies of the state. The enemy is possibly William III of Orange, who was deposed by De Witt as stadholder of the Union. In all likelihood someone else added the texts, since Johan de Witt did not become a stadholder until after the death of Jan Asselijn in 1653.
The swan was also the family symbol of the De Witt family. Whether the interpretation of this masterpiece by Jan Asselijn is correct cannot be said with certainty; however, it remains a beautiful story.
This beautiful painting, which rightly hangs in the Rijksmuseum's Gallery of Honour, can now adorn your wall, too.