Rijksmuseum Amsterdam - Adriaen Pieterz. van de Venne - The Soul Fisheries

The picture below is found in the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is located at Jan Luijkenstraat 1, 1071 CJ Amsterdam.

On the website of the Rijksmuseum is written the following: text "As a museum, the Rijksmuseum has existed for more than 200 years. The current building, designed by architect Pierre Cuypers, was first used in 1885. Viewing the museum from the old town, it looks impressive and somewhat austere, but from the Museum square is looks like a fairytale castle. This enormous building was, after more than a hundred years of intensive use, ready for a fundamental renovation. In the year 2000 the government decided to go ahead with this, and after a long run-up, the renovation is currently in full progress. Once this is completed the internationally renowned museum will once again meet the requirements of modern times."

The Museum looks forward to its reopening in the first half of 2013. Nevertheless, at the present time visitors are welcome for an artistic discovery. The total collection of the museum, including drawings, prints and photographs, includes approximately 900,000 objects. Before the closure 1,200 000 people visited the museum every year .

The website:


Photo: Wikimedia Commons (© Voytikof) / licence Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic


Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne

Adriaen Pieterz. van de Venne, was born in 1589 in Delft, and has made a name for himself as a Dutch painter and draftsman. He was also active n other artistic fields such as engraving, a painter of miniatures and poetry. He also published literary works that he illustrated himself .

With regard to his education it is known that his parents sent him to Leiden to learn Latin. Apparently it was their intention that he would go in for a scientific career. Adriaen, however, was actually more interested in drawing and painting. As a student he enjoyed an education from the famous goldsmith of Leiden Simon de Valk and the Hague Grisaille painter Willem van Diest.

Adriaen married Elisabeth de Pours on November 19, 1614 . As an artist he became, in 1625, a member of the guild of St. Luke in The Hague; dean in 1639, while in 1656 he helped to establish the new painters brotherhood. Throughout his life he was given a respect which was awarded to only a few. He received commissions from the Prince of Orange and the King of Denmark.

Work of Wenceslaus Hollar - see also here



The Soul Fishing

This painting, made ??in 1614, is one of his earliest masterpieces. The painting is made ??with oil paint on a panel. The panel measures 98 cm by 189 cm. The scene: on a wide river there are sailing boats and people. The catch consists of naked people. This is a representation of Jesus' words when he said to the apostles Peter and his brother Andrew: "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men" - Matthew 4:18.

With this art work, Adriaen van de Venne was depicting an allegory. An allegory is a presentation, depicting an abstract idea or concept. Protestants and Catholics fought for the ‘souls’ of the faithful. The allegory is therefore about the jealous zeal of these religions. The painting also has political significance. The predominantly Protestant Netherlands was embroiled in a battle, the 80 years war against catholic Spain. On the left you see the Protestants with the Princes of Orange, Maurice and Frederick Henry, Frederick V of the Palatinate, James I, King of England, and the young Louis XIII, King of France with his mother Maria de Medici. In the foreground are the Protestants fishing and their nets are labelled Fides, Spes, and Caritas (faith, hope and charity). On the right side are the Catholics with the Archduke and duchess Albert and Isabella, General Ambrosio Spinola and the Pope borne by cardinals. A bishop with his priests are fishing in the Catholic fishing boat.

There are signs that the artist was favoring the Protestant cause. The painter pictures himself at the front of the left side. When you look at the picture below, look at the adults just above the children. The third person from the left is the painter. Please also note that the tree on the Catholic side is withered, while the tree on the Protestant side is blooming. Also the sunlight falls only on the left side. Dark clouds are gathering above the Catholics.

When the painting was made, there was a temporary truce but later tempers flared again amongst Protestants.


This picture was sent to us by the Rijksmuseum, many thanks (© Rijksmuseum).




The Divine Name

At the helm of the boat is written "IEHOVAE IVDYCIUM" - "Jehovah's judgement".







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