Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Allegory of Government: Wisdom Defeating Discord

Artist:
Jacob de Wit (Dutch, Amsterdam 1695–1754 Amsterdam)
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
20 1/8 x 15 3/8 in. (51.1 x 39.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906
Accession Number:
07.225.296
Not on view
Forthcoming
Inscription: Inscribed: (on shield) . . . BET . . . PROBAT; (on book) IN LEGIBVS SALVS (prosperity under law)
the artist, Jacob de Wit, Amsterdam (1738–d. 1754; his estate sale, Amsterdam, March 10, 1755, no. 126, as a ceiling sketch for the [Oude] Stadhuis in The Hague); Georges Hoentschel, Paris (until 1906; sold to Morgan); J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (1906)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

J. E. P. Leistra in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 33, New York, 1996, p. 261, suggests that it may be a modello for Wit's lost ceiling decoration painted in 1738 for the Raadhuis [Oude Stadhuis] of The Hague.

Nicole Hoentschel et al. Georges Hoentschel. Saint-Rémy-en-l'Eau, 1999, ill. pp. 171, 176 (gallery installations), reproduces photographs of it hanging in Hoentschel's gallery on Boulevard Flandrin.

Guus van den Hout in In de wolken: Jacob de Wit als plafondschilder. Ed. Janrense Boonstra and Guus van den Hout. Amsterdam, 2000, p. 57, fig. 19, cites it as an example of the style and usual scale of Wit's modelli for ceiling paintings, and dates it about 1735.

Walter Liedtke. "Gerard de Lairesse and Jacob de Wit 'in situ'." The Learned Eye: Regarding Art, Theory, and the Artist's Reputation: Essays for Ernst van de Wetering. Ed. Marieke van den Doel et al. Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 195, 199, 201, 204 n. 41, fig. 5 (color).

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 2, pp. 948–53, no. 218, colorpl. 218, fig. 264.

William DeGregorio in Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide et al. Exh. cat., Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. New York, 2013, p. 137 n. 51.



This oil sketch is Wit's modello for a canvas ceiling painting that he executed in 1738 for the Aldermen's or Sheriffs' Hall (Schepenzaal) in the new wing of the Old Town Hall (Oude Stadhuis) in The Hague. The central ceiling painting was removed (evidently due to poor condition) in the mid- or late nineteenth century, but the four corner pieces that Wit painted in grisaille, each depicting putti in illusionistic relief, remain in their original setting. The Museum's picture is apparently the only visual record of the lost canvas.
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