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council of state portrait gallery

The Council of State portrait gallery displays a series of busts of the Presidents of the Council of State since the establishment of the kingdom, supplemented with a bust of Prince William of Orange, the Father of the Nation. The series of portraits begins with the latter and continues via Kings William I, II and III and Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix through to King Willem-Alexander himself. The gallery can be seen in the Council of State's display window along the Parkstraat in The Hague. It is an initiative of the Council of State and the Prince William the First Remembrance Society.

cepezedinterieur devised the concept for the arrangement and elaborated this further in collaboration with others, including artist Eric Claus, light consultant Mathijs Sommeijer (Deerns engineering bureau) and graphic designer Tessa van der Waals; it also supervised the implementation. 

The exhibition is entirely focused on a modest presentation with good legibility, which brings out the best in the busts. The background and base of the arrangement constitute a neutral unity with regard to colour and atmosphere, entirely executed in warm grey. The sculptures are placed on pedestals that form a single entity with an underlying platform that fulfils both a supporting and connecting function. Depending on the specific dimensions of the portraits, the pedestals are higher or lower and are situated closer or further away from the display window. That means that all the portraits are aligned at the height of the spectator, who is then standing as much as possible eye-to-eye with the different sovereigns.

The new portraits of William of Orange and King Willem-Alexander were specially created for the gallery by artist Eric Claus. These busts are arranged so that they are slightly turned towards each other, underlining their position as start and end marks in the series, together with their similarity in style and execution. The sculptures of the Kings William I, II and III are new bronzes taken from marble portraits, which Claus has also provided with new cut lines that differ from the originals. The portraits of the sovereigns Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix were already part of the Council of State collection.

In the lighting plan, two LED lines constitute the general lighting, which gives the exhibition a soft glow and turns the space itself into a fitting, as it were. The spotlights are also LED lamps and are entirely focused on providing beneficial shadows from the various viewpoints. To achieve this effect, many tests were carried out, including tests of the lighting positions and the colour and temperature of the LED spotlights.

Similarly, by taking clarity and legibility as starting points, graphic designer Tessa van der Waals provided the typographical elements in the gallery. On the back wall, in bronze-coloured letters matching the portraits, the Dutch translation has been placed of an originally Latin quotation from William of Orange's important Council of State speech about the freedom of conscience and religion, held on 31 December 1564: “Yet Orange cannot agree that monarchs should rule over the souls of their subjects and take from them their freedom of belief and religion.” In the same colour, Van der Waals provided the busts with information about the people portrayed and their periods of reign, the makers of the sculptures and the dates of the artworks. The signatures of the various sovereigns have been included on the pedestals, which are made from Corian, and on the display window there is an informative text in white lettering about the exhibition.

More information about the portrait gallery and the sculptures can be found at: www.beeldenvanderaad.nl

The Hague / The Netherlands

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