Joost van den Vondel

Singing Swan

Silver, 62.0 mm Ø, 55.2 g
Possibly attributed to Jan Lutma the Younger, dated 1679.
Obverse:  Draped bust of Joost van den Vondel three-quarters facing right. Surrounded by a ribbon wrapped around a laurel wreath, inscribed in separate sections: JOOST VAN DEN VONDEL . Below, on the ribbon ends, inscribed: Gest · 5 Feb 1679 (Died 5 February 1679).
Reverse:  A standing swan, singing, with wings outstretched. Surrounded by a ribbon wrapped around a laurel wreath, inscribed in separate sections: Slants Outste en Grooiste Poeet (The Oldest and Greatest Poet of the Land). Below, on the ribbon ends, inscribed: Geb · 17 Nov 1787 (Born 17 November 1587).

Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679) is considered the greatest Dutch poet and playwright. Born to Mennonite parents in Cologne, the family was forced to leave in 1595 and finally settled in Amsterdam. After the execution of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Vondel wrote several satires criticizing the extreme Calvinists. Vondel himself would convert to Roman Catholicism. The fourteen poets who carried his coffin at his funeral were apparently given examples of this medal.

Frederiks comments that the attribution to Lutma the Younger is weak. He notes that there seems to be an example of the medal with the Lutma silver mark on the edge. Lutma made an engraving of Vondel, also featuring a singing swan, though the imagery is quite different:

The medal is hollow, consisting of two shells soldered together with a broad rim.

Provenance:

Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger 365, 12 February 2021, lot 3061.

References:

Frederiks 1943, p. 37, no. 21/21a

Scher 1997, no. 30

Scher 2019, no. 787