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The Valkhof at Nijmegen, with a coach on a ferry on the River Waal
Mrs K. Bagley; Christie’s, London, 12 July 1946, lot 48, where purchased for 1,500 gns. by R.W. Lloyd, The Albany, London, and thence by descent; Christie’s, London, 10 July 1992, lot 7, where purchased by Johnny Van Haeften, by whom sold to a Private Collector, U.S.A.Literature:
A. Dobrzycka, Jan van Goyen, Poznan, 1966, no. 168; H.U. Beck, Jan van Goyen, Amsterdam, vol. II, 1973, p. 174, no. 358, ill.Exhibition History:
Royal Academy, London, Dutch Pictures 1450-1750, 22 November 1952-1 March 1953, no. 237 (lent by R.W. Lloyd).Description:
Nijmegen was one of the most important historic and patriotic sites in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. The capital of the province of Gelderland, it is located on the south side of the River Waal, near the German border. The fortified town had long played an important role in the region as a stronghold of the Batavians, the Romans, Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire and finally the Dutch Republic. The mass of fortification surrounding the high tower on the hill is the Valkhof (falcon court), rebuilt in the middle of the twelfth century. Dutch independence, officially confirmed in 1609, turned writers and politicians of the time to the historic and ancient past in attempts to legitimize their new country. The writing of national and civic histories took on a special importance, with Nijmegen playing a prominent role because Tacitus specified it as the seat of Claudius (more properly Julius) Civilis, leader of the Batavian revolt against the Romans. The Batavian legend was essential to the mythologizing associated with the development of Dutch nationalism and patriotism. Charlemagne and his immediate successor made Nijmegen a major stronghold in the Middle Ages. These tales of historic glory were then considerably embroidered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In chronicles or lists of the cities of the Netherlands, Nijmegen is traditionally named first because of its antiquity; it is repeatedly hailed as the ‘mother city’, ‘Capital of the World north of the Alps’ and the seat of Claudius Civilis, ancient model of the Dutch struggle for independence. Nijmegen was thus depicted repeatedly by seventeenth-century Dutch artists not only because of its picturesque skyline and beautiful situation, but also because it stirred recollections of national origins and historical vicissitudes.