Castle by a River by Jan Van Goyen

By: Mansi Adroja, Lizbeth Cespedes, Ananya Mondal, Madhuri Bhupathiraju, and Tanya Banerjee

Section: 5

Jan Van Goyen, Castle by a River (1647) The Metropolitan Museum of Art  

Castle by A River is an oil piece painted by Dutch artist, Jan Van Goyen, in 1647. Goyen was a landscape artist who painted this particular scene in the Netherlands. In 1964, Edith Neuman de Vegvar gifted the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where it currently resides.

We chose this particular painting because it is an eye-catching depiction of rivers, and it encompasses their importance to the Dutch economy and life. During the late 16th century, as the Dutch Republic started to become a distinct entity and form a distinct culture, Dutch paintings also began to show a similar representation of the country. Many paintings included seascapes which represented the “naval and trade power”, which was popular among the Dutch Republic.

By juxtaposing the fisherman with the castle in the background, the painting distinguishes the working class from the wealthy. This piece is also an example of how during the Golden Age, art transitioned from depicting religious aspects to portraying political viewpoints and everyday lifestyles. This shift reflected the change in the focus of the country from religious to secular themes as well as the economic growth taking place during this time period.   

People today can connect to this painting through its deep roots in Dutch history and culture. It reminds viewers of some of the core foundations of a civilization–perseverance and work ethic. These values are not limited to any one country; they are universal.

The following is a short, interesting analysis of the castle’s “identity” and the choice of colors in Goyen’s painting: “The subject and composition of this picture recall Jan van Goyen’s many views of Nijmegen, but the fort here, with its Romanesque bell tower, improbable portals, and asymmetrical façade, is surely imaginary. The work is remarkable for the warmth of its brown and yellow tones, with rose and salmon colors throughout the cloudy sky.”
A major part of the painting is the stormy sky. Goyen uses a yellow and brown color scheme for most of the landscape and subtle pink tones for the sky. Although there is an emphasis on the castle in this painting, Goyen interestingly employs perception to also accentuate the boat with three fishermen in the foreground.


  1. “Castle by a River by GOYEN, Jan Van.” Castle by a River by GOYEN, Jan Van. N.p., n.d. Web.       6 Apr. 2016.
  2.  “Castle by a River.” N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.
  3. “History of Dutch Golden Age.” N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2016″ 
  4. “Jan Van Goyen’s River Landscape (Pellekussenpoort near Utrecht).”Jan Van Goyen’s River Landscape (Pellekussenpoort near Utrecht). N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art 40.779437, -73.963244

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Dutch Slave Laws in 1644

by Mollie Baruch, Rohit Purma, Tristan Rosengart, Ed Zaleck

Section 05

This object is a legal code. It does not physically exist but it has a powerful presence in the Dutch legal code and American history. The law, implemented by the West India Company in 1644, said that the children of free black adults were obligated to work the WIC themselves. The parents would baptize their children in the hopes that the WIC would not turn Christian children into slaves. However, in the mid 1650s, the Dutch clergy stopped baptizing slave children and there was a rigid distinction between slave religion and white religion.



Author: Unknown, 1741 Slave Revolt burned at the Stake NYC, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, Source: Suppressed Histories


The 1644 legal code is located within the colonies of the Dutch.  It is located there because there was an already rigid legal system of racial bondage pertaining to African laborers. The law had jurisdiction within all the Dutch territories in 1644.  The law was in effect in 1644.  The West India Company aided to the implementation of the law.  The story tells of parents of many African American infants had their children baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church in hopes of securing their freedom.  Though direct connection is weak to the History of Rutgers, this law proved the value of religion in early colonial Dutch society. Queens College was established around the same ideals, as it was a secular institution that intended to “educate the youth in the divinity” and train future ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church.

We picked this object because we think it focuses on the small part of Dutch society that felt that slavery was wrong. The general feelings towards slavery at the time only supported and promoted the unjust system that was already in place. People did not want to get rid of their slaves – they worked as free labor and are largely the reason for a country’s success at the time. So the fact that the Dutch put this law in place, damaging their economy and high status at the time, shows that there was some level of concern that the institution of  slavery was wrong.

As a nation, we are still working to extinguish the pain and suffering that was caused through decades of cruel, unjust and horrifying acts of slavery. This law from 1644 states that children of free adults could be free as well if they were baptized, after a period of time spent in slavery. Though still terrifying, it was a small step towards racial tolerance and peace. In our world today, many people are still working to break down the racial hatred that exists under the surface in our society. The fight today echos what this law of 1644 stood for – a chance for the creation of a more equal world.  Here is an interesting scholarly perspective of the law: “As Goodfriend notes, this was hardly the end of black efforts to reverse their fortunes in the colony. English rule in New York saw religious tolerance gaining traction for some sects, but the slave regime and the types of resistance grew dramatically more confrontational toward one another.”


A short bibliography of primary or secondary sources connected to the story your object tells (Limit yourself to no more than five key sources)

  1. David Gellman. Review of Rosenblatt, Albert M.; Rosenblatt, Julia C., eds., Opening Statements: Law, Jurisprudence, and the Legacy of Dutch New York. H-Law, H-Net Reviews. January, 2014.
  2. “Slavery in New York.” Slavery in New York. N-YHS, 7 Oct. 2007. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Goodfriend, Joyce D. “Black Families Black Families.” (2007): n. pag. University of Denver. New Netherland Institute. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

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The Grave of Reverend John Henry Livingston

By Vanessa Gao, Timothy Reilly, April Rickle, and Paul Shin

John Henry Livingston earned his Doctorate in theology at Utrecht University.  He then returned to the United States, where he was born, and became the leader of the Reformed Church in New York City.  The story of John Henry Livingston represents that of an American with Dutch ancestry, who returned to his ancestral homeland for educational purposes, only to return to the place of his birth and become a successful pastor.

Livingston was the fourth president and professor theology at Queen’s College, what is now known as Rutgers University. He was also the most influential reverend at the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Livingston started as the reverend for the Church, but was offered presidency at Queens College in 1807. He did not accept this offer until 1810, and then continued to serve until his death in 1825.

After Livingston accepted presidency, Queens College was forced to close because of financial problems. He continued to teach theology at the theology school, while also raising funds to help reopen Queens College. Livingston died on January 25, 1825 and was then buried at the First Reformed Church at 9 Bayard Street New Brunswick, New Jersey. Queens College was reopened 10 months later.

Livingston’s grave is particularly special because of the over ground stone grave. This stone grave was erected to emphasize his dignity, and was funded by the church. This artifact, the grave, is the last remnant of one of the earliest presidents of our university.  As a student at this university, it is important to understand the history of important figures that helped shape our universities past. We must be respectful to ancestors of this church and commemorate their contributions to the creation of Rutgers University.

Interested parties may get there by taking the EE bus to Patterson street, and then walking down Neilson to the corner of Bayard.

Reverend John Henry Livingston's Grave

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Reverend John Henry Livingston\'s Grave 40.495057, -74.442349

Livingston’s grave consists of two parts- a gravestone, and a box grave. The gravestone itself is not as fancy as one might imagine; it stands to the left of the box grave, and the stone cut inscription has weathered over the years to the point that it is nearly illegible.


The box grave, which once had Livingston’s name carved into it, is similarly worn due to the fact that its inscription has lied face-up, exposed to the wind and rain, for so many years. The point of the box grave, Reverend Hartmut Kramer-Mills told us, was to emphasize the dignity of the person buried below. Though the body is interred in the ground, a stone box is erected over it as a secondary monument. In recent years, a violent storm knocked a tree branch onto the box tomb, breaking its face. Though the tomb was repaired, the mortar has evaporated, leaving deep cracks in the stone.


Though the tombs are slowly falling into disrepair, one may still find the full inscriptions on this website, along with a description of Livingston’s life. Though he has been gone for nearly 200 years, Livingston will live on in memory as a man “with dignified appearance, extensive erudition, almost unrivalled [sic] talents as a sacred orator and professor, were blended manners polished, candid and attractive, all ennobled by the entire devotion to his Savior” (Stanton).

Works Cited

Frusciano, Thomas J. “John Henry Livingston.” John Henry Livingston. Rutgers University. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Stanton, Shirley. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials.” Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. Find a Grave, 7 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

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The Gravesite of Charlotte and Theodore Frelinghuysen

Section 5


This is the tombstone of Charlotte Mercer Frelinghuysen (1784-1809), who was the wife of Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787-1862). It is a grey granite tombstone, which probably used to look pristine before years of wear and tear affected its appearance. The tombstone now looks worn down and many of the words engraved onto it have faded, making them unreadable. It has even begun to sink into the ground, so much so that parts of the name do no show. We were saddened by the dilapidated state of this gravesite, as Reverend Kramer-Mills pointed out how we should provide better care and upkeep for the final resting places of these influential Rutgers figures. Unfortunately, we were unable to find Theodore’s grave.

We chose to use the tombstone of Theodore Frelinghuysen as our artifact after our class walking tour of the First Reformed Church Cemetery, in New Brunswick, NJ. Theodore Frelinghuysen was the seventh president of Rutgers College, Queens college at the time, and this cemetery is where many Rutgers presidents have been buried. Charlotte died and was buried here in 1809, while Theodore died in 1862. The First Reformed Church was central to Rutgers during Theodore Frelinghuysen’s time as it was used for commencement and other large gatherings at the time.  The church was world renowned and being buried in it cemetery was and still is a tremendous honor.  This artifact is directly related to the history of Rutgers because, as previously stated, Theodore was a president here. Theodore carried on the Dutch traditions of his great-grandfather, who was a minister and theologian of the Dutch Reformed Church, an influence in the founding of Queen’s College, and a leader in the First Great Awakening.  He also led Rutgers during a period of reformation in the country following the war of 1812 when changes came to the way the country handled finances and domestic politics.  Much of his great-grandfather’s history influenced his roles in politics both in the state assembly and as president of the university. Remnants of Frelinghuysen’s legacy can be seen throughout the campus today, in places such as Frelinghuysen Hall on College Avenue.

We picked the tombstones of Charlotte and Theodore Frelinghuysen because, upon recognized the name of the tomb, we instantly became intrigued. This object spoke to us because we all live next to Frelinghuysen Hall, making the artifact relevant in our everyday lives.

Gravesite of Charlotte and Theodore Frelinghuysen

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Gravesite of Charlotte and Theodore Frelinghuysen 40.495031, -74.442180


“Charlotte Mercer Frelinghuysen (1784 – 1809) – Find A Grave Memorial.” Charlotte Mercer Frelinghuysen (1784 – 1809) – Find A Grave Memorial. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

“Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787 – 1862) – Find A Grave Memorial.” Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787 – 1862) – Find A Grave Memorial. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Reverend Kramer-Mills, 30 Apr. 2016

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