How you can use this image
This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other UK exceptions to copyright permitted to users based in the United Kingdom under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised. Any other type of use will need to be cleared with the rights holder(s).
Review the copyright credit lines that are located underneath the image, as these indicate who manages the copyright (©) within the artwork, and the photographic rights within the image.
The collection that owns the artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.
Review our guidance pages which explain how you can reuse images, how to credit an image and how to find images in the public domain or with a Creative Commons licence available.
Add or edit a note on this artwork that only you can see. You can find notes again by going to the ‘Notes’ section of your account.
At dusk, a heavy sky bears down onto the shallow coastal waters. Small patches of azure creep into the sky and large, murky clouds move ponderously across the horizon, following a diagonal from lower left to upper right. Human activity, encapsulated in the lowermost quarter of the composition, is secondary to the prevalence of the immense sky. The artist has condensed the activity into the bottom quarter of the painting, and devoted the rest of it to a dramatic depiction of the sky.
Like his contemporary, Jan van Goyen, Julius Porcellis explored the depiction of lightning and related effects. Heavy weather may threaten, here, but it may pass over the scene of everyday fishing activity. During the 1630s and 1640s, the pursuit of realism in landscape painting led artists to represent unsightly or bad weather, known as vuil weer, as a subject with equal validity to fine weather. An atmospheric idiosyncrasy such as lightning probably delighted Porcellis, who successfully added it to his visual vocabulary of realist images. Such representations of foul weather later came to be reviled. The late seventeenth-century artist and theorist Gérard de Lairesse derided them as the ‘schilderachtig onschoone’: the ‘picturesque ugly’.
oil on panel
H 39.3 x W 54.6 cm