Managing Authentic Relationships; 17th century networking

Upward mobility – netwerken in de 17e eeuw

Dit artikel in het Engels/ this article in English


De adjunct-directeur van de Hermitage Amsterdam Paul Mosterd schrijft in het boek Managing Authentic Relationships over netwerken in de 17e eeuw; de historie van relatiemanagement. Mosterd behandelt dit onderwerp aan de hand van vier gildeschilderijen uit de 17e eeuw, afkomstig uit de collectie van het Amsterdam Museum en het Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.

Een van de schilderijen is te zien op de voorzijde van het boek, de andere drie schilderijen markeren het begin van de drie delen van het boek; ‘Authentic Relationships’, ‘Managing Relationships’ en ‘Successful Encounters’. Het schilderij hieronder gemaakt door Pieter van Anraedt (in 1675) markeert het begin van ‘Managing Relationships’. 

Managing Authentic Relationships; 17th century networking

The Regents of the Oudezijds Huiszittenhuis, Pieter van Anraedt, 1675, canvas 237 x 425 cm, collection Amsterdam Museum (on loan from the City of Amsterdam)


“It is said that at a dinner, Winston Churchill was seated next to a highly-decorated young man whom he did not immediately recognise. He asked the Sir with interest how he had earned his knighthood. The young man answered proudly that he was a painter. Churchill replied: ‘I see! Art is the easiest way up’.”

“This is upward mobility – an essential premise for networking. If you can’t climb the social ladder, networking is effectively pointless. Ferdinand Bol’s career is an appropriate example of what Churchill meant. He was an extremely successful and highly respected painter, yet it was only after his second wedding in 1669 that he made a real step forward. Anne van Erckel became his wife, and she was very wealthy. Overnight, Bol went from portraying to being portrayed. He was invited to enter the board of one of the city’s most prestigious charitable institutions.

The book about relationship management 'Managing Authentic Relationships 'He is sat at the table in a manner that a true economical regent should. He sits furthest on the left: alert, composed and self-assured. He is a board member, at the mayor’s request, of what we nowadays would call a food bank. These positions were honourable for rich citizens. Moreover, it was thought that wealthy board members would be less corrupt, or in any case would keep less money for themselves. Their pockets were already filled, that was the idea. The regents alongside Bol at the table demonstrate precisely why they are on this board: they are counting money. The motto is ‘show your virtues’. The painting is therefore a depiction of their skills, yet also an open application to more jobs, or perhaps even better jobs. The message is evident: ‘you can trust us’. It is a true testimonial. Of course, Bol knew this like no other. How many careers he had been able to lift with just one painting?”


Lees meer artikelen over Managing Authentic Relationships op ons blog:
Managing Authentic Relationship is een boek over relatiemanagement en netwerken gepubliceerd door Amsterdam University Press:

A book about networking and relationship management