KEYSER, Thomas de
(b. 1596/97, Amsterdam, d. 1667, Amsterdam)

The Militia Company of Captain Allaert Cloeck

Oil on canvas, 220 x 351 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (on loan)

In this painting de Keyser follows the Amsterdam tradition of showing civic guards standing full-length that was established by Cornelis Ketel in the previous century (1588). De Keyser accentuated the middle group by placing it in front of the other guardsmen, who are on different levels and appear to be on the way to join their officers. Nevertheless, the result is not very satisfactory. There is no indication of a unity between the sixteen figures, and de Keyser's attempt to combine a horizontal setting with the effect of depth by placing symmetrical groups at various distances fails by its stiffness.

The painting was commissioned by the guards for the Kloveniersdoelen, where it was mounted with other group portraits of Amsterdam civic guard companies that used the building. Rembrandt's Nightwatch was hung there a decade later.