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Everdingen, Caesar van (1617-1678)
Four Muses and Pegasus on ParnassusDate: ca. 1450
Technique: Oil on canvas
Museum: Huis ten Bosch
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
340 x 230 cm
'Four Muses and Pegasus on Parnassus' is one of the three paintings Caesar executed for the Oranjezaal in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague between 1648 and 1651.
The refined, generalized forms, clear outlines, and sensitivity to the effects of light of his Four Muses with Pegasus shows what sets him apart. Everdingen acquired his interest in representing idealized female and male nudes and classical subjects from his connections with artists in Utrecht and Haarlem.
The beautiful still-life in the foreground is made up of eleven lifelike musical instruments. From left to right they are a shawm, a vielle, a portative organ, a trombone, a trumpet, a harp, a recorder, a second shawm, a bass gamba, an alto or tenor gamba and a tambourine.
Frederik Hendrik (1584-1647), Prince of Orange, became stadholder in 1625 - initially of five provinces and later of seven. The prince's universally recognised strength lay in conquests of a predominantly military nature, yet he was also an important patron of the arts and a man who commissioned buildings of royal status. He built several palaces, including the palace of Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, which was originally intended as a modest country house in the woods for his wife, Amalia van Solms. At Frederik Hendrik's death in 1674, his widow conceived a plan to honour the life, deeds, and memory of her late husband in the Oranjezaal (Orange Hall) in her own new palace Huis ten Bosch. Constantijn Huygens would serve as adviser, and Jacob van Campen was commissioned to oversee the execution of the painted decoration. With its programmatic mixture of mythology, allegory, and actual historical events, the cycle recalls the glorifying decorative programs that Rubens had painted for the Spanish, French, and English courts.
The decorations cover the walls of the cross-shaped central hall with chamfered inner corners from floor to ceiling and were executed by Pieter de Grebber, Salomon de Bray, Caesar van Everdingen, Pieter Soutman, Gerrit van Honthorst, and Jacob van Campen himself. In addition to these Northern Netherlandish artists, several Southern Netherlandish painters were also retained, including Jacob Jordaens, who completed the largest canvas in 1652, Triumph of Frederik Hendrik, and Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert and Theodoor van Thulden.
The Orange Hall, some 19 metres high, is painted from floor to ceiling. Painted on wood inside the dome are the heavens, with a portrait of Amalia van Solms in the centre, and there are celestial scenes painted between each of the ribs. On the walls below are thirty enormous canvases depicting events in the life of the stadholder.
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