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A Dutch Yacht firing a Salute as a Barge pulls away, and Many Small Vessels at Anchor

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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Jan van de Cappelle’s sea is flat calm and luminous – even the few boats that appear to be moving hardly disturb the still reflections. But there’s a sense of drama in the picture, unusual for the artist. Clouds threaten, and a fitful sun breaks through. The barge in the foreground on the right is rowed with some urgency, and a forest of sails and masts crowd together in the middle distance. A puff of smoke from a cannon reminds us that in seventeenth-century Holland ships were for war as well as trade.

The National Gallery, London





Oil on oak


H 85.5 x W 114.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876

Work type


The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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