Art Collections Online

A Calm

CAPPELLE, Jan van de (1624 - 1679)

A Calm

Date: 1654

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 110.0 x 148.2 cm

Acquired: 1994; Purchase; with assistance of National Heritage Memorial Fund / Art Fund / John Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust

Accession Number: NMW A 2754

This painting depicts a flotilla of Dutch coasters. Soldiers carouse on the deck of a barge, as a person of distinction is being rowed towards a fortified town.  The artist Van de Cappelle was a wealthy Amsterdam merchant who owned a dye-works, but also had a career as a self-taught marine painter.  He was a sailing enthusiast and probably made sketches for his paintings from his pleasure yacht. He brought the new genre of the maritime view to its peak, demonstrating a genius for balancing the formal considerations of picture-making with the recording of atmosphere, tone and luminosity.  His atmospheric seascapes, with their silver-grey skies, shimmering seas, and well-observed vessels became hugely renowned.  He also accumulated an astounding art collection including works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Hals as well as various marine paintings. . The first recorded owner of this painting was Sir Lawrence Dundas (c.1710-1781) who made a fortune as an army contractor during the Seven Years War. A distinguished patron of the arts, in about 1770 Dundas commissioned Zoffany to paint his portrait with his grandson, seated in the library of his London house, with the van de Cappelle prominently displayed over the fireplace.

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