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Cappelle was a wealthy Amsterdam dyer who became a marine and landscape painter by teaching himself to paint in 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, whilst 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.
oil on panel
H 53.3 x W 49.5 cm