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Simon de Vlieger

Ships near a Rocky Coast with Awaiting Landing Party


Simon de Vlieger
Rotterdam 1600/01 – Weesp 1653


Ships near a Rocky Coast with Awaiting Landing Party




Oil on wood


75.5 x 107.9 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2015.20


Western Art

Vlieger remains among the most esteemed marine painters of the Dutch Golden Age, and his work profoundly influenced the course of Dutch marine art from the 1630s to the 1650s. He moved to Delft, entering the artists’ guild there. By mid-1638, the artist had left Delft to take up residence in Amsterdam, where he became a citizen in 1643 and received prominent public and church commissions. Despite a varied career, de Vlieger remains best known for his wonderful marine paintings. Even within that genre, de Vlieger was capable of handling a wide range of subjects, from scenes of flagships and naval forces to ships in distress in stormy seas and commercial vessels on calm waters, the open ocean or coastal estuaries. Apart from the depiction of boats and sea, as well as a rocky inlet and rough local waters, the painting is notable for the range of figures watching and diverting themselves along the rocky coastline. Most likely a landing party of Dutch adventurers and explorers, they are awaiting rowboats with their own crews approaching from the ships bearing Dutch flags in the distance, one at right and another one, on the extreme right, coming from another ship. Thus, with an empty rowboat docked at the water’s edge, the figures on land, some of whom are in gentlemen’s attire could be the companions of those in the rowboats. Notable also is the artist’s depiction of the late afternoon sunlight falling on the craggy cleft and outlining the oar-bearing figure on the rock, the waterfall caught in that same light, the rugged coast and the silvery sky with its cumulus clouds.

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