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17th century, Amsterdam

Origin: Amsterdam

Date: ca. 1650

Material: Brass

Master: Elias Eliasz van Vliet

Dimensions: 95 x 115 cm

A chandelier with six arms of good size. It is possible that this chandelier was commissioned for a representative space, such as a governors’ chamber, in one of the many almshouses in the Netherlands. Alternatively it could have been intended for a church. There were countless smaller churches that all needed sources of light – for larger buildings, chandeliers with two or three rows of arms were used.

Elias Eliasz (1608-1652) establishes his business on the Nieuwendijk in Amsterdam in 1641, supported by his son, who went by the same name. In 1642 they took up the surname Van Vliet. The house were they resided was appropriately known as ‘In de Gecroonde Kerckkron,’ which translates to ‘in the crowned church chandelier.’

Although their well-known monogram EEV, which was often applied underneath the suspension ring,  is not present, this chandelier can also be attributed to these productive makers on good grounds. As was established by the research undertaken by B. Dubbe into this family of foundry casters, one of their most distinctive features appears to be the use of mushroom shaped ornaments underneath the suspension ring. Such ornaments occur on many chandeliers of various sizes which bear the EEV monogram, both with and without date.  Chandeliers with a cone-shaped stem generally date from around circa 1650, while the baluster shape and in particular the mushroom ornament underneath the hanging ring is encountered after this date. Chandeliers by Elias Eliasz van Vliet can also be recognized by their highly balanced and perfect proportions.

The large amount of chandeliers in the protestant churches in the Netherlands was an effect of the Reformation. The emphasis on reading biblical texts and the singing of psalms in the national language by the whole religious community, called for adequate lighting. Not just near the pulpit, but throughout the entire nave of the church. Light also became increasingly valued within houses, especially in representative rooms. Countless paintings with interior scenes show chandelier as the gleaming center and focus off a room.

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