- Danzig (Gdańsk)
- seeking stability and autonomy
- Book title
- The Routledge Handbook of Maritime Trade Around Europe 1300-1600
- Pages (from-to)
- London: Routledge
- ISBN (electronic)
- The Routledge history handbooks
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
In 1608, the painter Isaac van den Blocke, a Danziger with Netherlandish roots, completed a challenging assignment. The Danzig municipal council had commissioned a painting that was to be an all-out portrayal of its power, autonomy and connections. The extensive checklist for the painter included: an impressive panorama of the city with the hand of God holding firmly on to the municipal hall; the main festive building of the city (the Artushof), which was the gathering spot both for denizens and foreigners zealously engaged in business; the Vistula river as the main artery of the grain trade and the connection with the Polish capital in Cracow; and a central view onto the sea that conveyed the notion of appealing distance. The artist used a symbolic, mannerist depiction to meet all the demands, and joined the elements with a classicist triumphant arch supporting the successful city, and the arch of a rainbow. The latter was a reference to God and the ultimate justice of the Last Judgment when all good deeds (of the municipal council) were recognized, but in this painting it also explicitly told the onlookers that ‘We are all connected by the celestial arch’ (Coelesti iungimur arcu). The painting, and cover image of this volume, came to be known as the Apotheosis of Danzig, or the Allegory of Danzig Trade. It still adorns the ceiling of the municipal council chamber in the huge medieval city hall in modern-day Gdańsk.
- Final publisher version
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