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A River View

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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In this busy but peaceful scene Abraham Storck shows an idealised version of life on a Dutch river in the seventeenth century, but his painting of the vessels is detailed and accurate. The rising sun is hidden behind the sails of the man-of-war (the great warship coming in from the sea) and the grey dawn light lifts as the morning clouds drift away almost imperceptibly on a faint breeze.

Storck has taken a building that could be Rotterdam Cathedral and placed it in the centre of the background but, unlike the many accurately depicted vessels, the rest of the landscape around the banks of the river is imaginary. The soft glow of the sky seems more Mediterranean than Northern European. This is a painting that would have appealed to a collector, especially one who shared Storck’s knowledge of ships and his romantic vision of the sea.

The National Gallery, London



A River View


about 1690-1700


Oil on canvas


H 58.4 x W 73.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by Lt-Col. J.H. Ollney, 1837

Work type


Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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