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Home International Law in Art, Literature, Thought The Peace of Utrecht in 1713, a Painting by Semiramis Öner Mühüdaroğlu

The Peace of Utrecht in 1713, a Painting by Semiramis Öner Mühüdaroğlu

Published on July 7, 2014        Author: 

Treaty of UtrechtThe Treaty of Utrecht was until recently one of the few major peace treaties that had not been commemorated in a painting or photograph. The  treaty was finally memorialized on the occasion of its 300-year anniversary last year in a painting (pictured left, click to enlarge) by Turkish artist Semiramis Öner Mühüdaroğlu.

The Treaty of Utrecht was in fact a group of bilateral treaties that helped to end the War of Spanish Succession, which was being fought among European States including Spain, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Savoy, and the Dutch Republic. During negotiations lasting nearly fourteen months, from 29 January 1712 to 11 April 1713, the States reached compromises that included cessions of territories in both Europe and the Americas as well as recognitions and renunciations of various sovereign titles. 

Although the treaties were not concluded in a single signing moment, the artist depicts the diplomats who negotiated the various agreements together in the ballroom of the Utrecht Town Hall, posed as if they have just signed an agreement. Among the diplomats are five allegorical figures. These include a child holding a globe, symbolizing the various geographies touched by the treaty; a female figure holding an olive branch and dove, representing peace; and another woman holding an open book to symbolize  justice.

The painting was commissioned by the foundation that owns the Oudaen City castle, where the French emissary Melchior de Polignac and his retinue stayed during the protracted peace negotiations. The painting is housed at the Townhall of Utrecht.

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