Battle for the Gold Staff (Dominion of the World), Adam Willaerts, c. 1615 - c. 1630
Two gentlemen vie for control of a gold staff. It symbolizes dominion over the world’s seas. For whoever rules the sea, controls trade, beggars his foes, and becomes rich himself. The man at the right stands for the Netherlands, the one at the left for Spain. The men next to them personifying England and Venice, among other nations, look on in suspense. The scene in the background, the Republic’s naval victory at Gibraltar in 1607, seems to predict who will triumph.