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Although the many craft in this picture are humble inshore vessels, Jan van de Cappelle’s vision turns their sweeping curves and luminous reflections into a majestic panorama. The sky takes up almost two thirds of the picture, but the soft, grey, formless clouds do nothing to detract from the forest of sails painted in browns, ochre and sudden touches of white that the sun catches and turns pale gold.
Although one of the leading seventeenth-century Dutch marine painters, van de Cappelle was also a successful merchant. After 1653, he concentrated mainly on his business, almost giving up painting altogether.
Oil on canvas
H 112 x W 153.5 cm
Bequeathed by Lord Revelstoke, 1929