The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis1661
Resolved to overthrow Roman domination, the Batavians enter into a treaty in a nocturnal ritual. This rebellion took place in 69 AD and was led by the one-eyed Batavian chieftain Claudius Civilis, here portrayed centrally. Rembrandt depicts the moment when the Batavians swear their oath by striking their swords together and raising the beaker. The rough facture and powerful contrast of light and dark are typical of Rembrandt’s (late) work.
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This painting was intented to be displayed in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, however Rembrandt and the commissioner of the painting could not come to an agreement on the final execution of the work. After the return of the painting to Rembrandt's studio the painter cut off the majority of the painting, leaving it to only 25% of its original size. A sketched study for the original work shows us what 'The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis' was intented to look like.