Three canvasses of the famous painter Gérard de Lairesse (1640-1711) adorn the ceiling in the Bolroom of the Peace Palace. The paintings, forming a Triptych, were originally painted for a room in a stately mayors-house on the Herengracht in Amsterdam.

In 1903 the paintings appeared on an auction and were bought by the Carnegie-Foundation for the to-be-built Peace Palace. At the time it was assumed that the paintings symbolised a Triumph of Peace and referred to the Peace of Münster. Although this theme fits beautifully in a building for Peace, it is incorrect. The ceiling can be read as an image of the political thought of the client, the Mayor of the City of Amsterdam. The ensemble shows the city of Amsterdam as the advocate of the Republic.

In the three paintings Unity, Freedom and Safety are depicted. In the painting here Freedom is shown together with the coat of arms of the City of Amsterdam.

Gérard de Lairesse was one of the most popular painters in the second half of the seventeenth century. In his early years he was inspired by Rembrandt but later he painted in a more “refined” style which is used in these three works.

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