Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich, Oil paintings

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Two Vessels by the Shore at Day Break

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich, Oil paintings
ExhibitionsArt for the Nation, Palmer Collection
User collections Cute animals by BirgittaPeippo
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC0843
Description Cappelle was a wealthy Amsterdam dyer who became a marine and landscape painter by teaching himself to paint during his spare time. His paintings usually show calm rivers or seas, a limpid quality of light, and a delicate sense of tonality. This painting is believed to be a fragment of a larger work. Typically for this artist, it portrays a calm sea, with two coastal craft and a larger vessel behind at daybreak, bathed in a golden glow on mirror-smooth water. In the smaller vessel in the left foreground a man is seated with his back to the viewer, talking to a woman with her arms folded, while a child emerges from a canopied area of the boat. The presence of the canopy implies that this boat is also their home. Dutch flags fly prominently from the masts, other ghostly figures loom out of the half light to work on sails, while another man appears to be pulling up an anchor. The artist has chosen to concentrate on the draping of the sails, and has picked out small details using the colour red, such as the men's caps, the child's bodice and a detail of the flag. The cow on the foreshore to the right is silhouetted against the light and her presence emphasizes the domesticity of the setting. There appears to be a fusion between land and sea in the bottom left, a uniting of nature. In the far distance to the right, small craft can be seen already at sea. There is elegance and dignity in this peaceful early morning scene serving as a contrast to the agitated seas painted by fellow Dutch artists. This painting is thought to be one of the rare examples of van de Cappelle's very late period. The painting has been signed and dated by the artist.
Date made 1651

Artist/Maker Cappelle, Jan van de
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Palmer Collection. Acquired with the assistance of H.M. Treasury, the Caird Fund, the Art Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Society for Nautical Research Macpherson Fund.
Materials oil on panel
Measurements Painting: 533 x 495 mm; Frame: 705 mm x 680 mm x 103 mm
  • Two Vessels by the Shore at Day Break (BHC0843)
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