The endangered swan, Jan Asselijn, ca. 1650.
A swan vigorously defends her nest against a dog. In later centuries, the fight was politically defined: the white swan was conceived as the statesman Johan de Witt, who was murdered in 1672 and who defended the country against his enemies. With this interpretation, the painting became the first acquisition in the National Art Gallery (the forerunner of the Rijksmuseum) in 1800.
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