QUELLINUS, Artus I
(b. 1609, Antwerpen, d. 1668, Antwerpen)

Sea Gods Paying Homage to Amsterdam

c. 1650
Stone
Town Hall, Amsterdam

In 1650, Quellinus moved to Amsterdam, where for fourteen years he directed the vast project of providing sculptural decoration for the new Town Hall, built and decorated to the plans of Jacob van Campen.

The intention was that the enormous town hall by its monumental appearance and its ingenious programme of decoration would express the commercial power and wealth of Amsterdam. Quellinus's sculpture was most explicitly utilized in the service of political propaganda in the giant reliefs with which the two great pediments of the building were decorated.

The eastern pediment, facing towards the activities of the port, alludes to the maritime significance of the city; here sea gods pay homage to Amsterdam. The enormous bronze statues crowning the corners of the pediment are female personifications of the virtues on which the ethical conduct of the city government was based.