FLINCK, Govert Teunisz.
(b. 1615, Kleve, d. 1660, Amsterdam)

Curius Dentatus Preferring Turnips to Gold

Oil on canvas, 480 x 370 cm
Royal Palace, Amsterdam

Flinck received the lion's share of commissions to decorate Amsterdam's new town hall. In 1656 he completed Curius Dentatus Preferring Turnips to Gold for the burgomasters' council chamber in the building. In the same year Rembrandt's sometime follower Ferdinand Bol painted Gaius Lucinus Fabritius in the Camp of King Pyrrhus for the same room. The huge pictures show the incorruptibility of Denatus and the intrepidity of Fabritius. The former is seen indicating that he would rather live on turnips than accept a bribe of precocious gifts, and the latter is shown fearless even when an elephant, intended to frighten him out of his wits, was produced. The pair of paintings were done to remind the burgomasters of two virtues city officials should possess.

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