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Title A Mediterranean Coastal View with Shipping and Mariners by a Fort
Collection English Heritage (Audley End)
Artist Asselyn, Jan (Dutch painter, ca.1610-1652)
Date Earliest about 1650
Date Latest 1652
Description Unlike the 'Dutch Italianate' painter Jan Baptist Weenix who specialised in Mediterranean port scenes, Jan Asselijn was best known for his extensive views of the Roman Campagna which reveal his extensive knowledge of Claude's Arcadian landscapes. This painting is therefore an unusual and particularly fine example of Asselijn's work. In the foreground the groups of figures engaged in varied activities reveal a quality of detail seemingly only drawn from first hand experience. The scene is framed to the left by a cylindrical tower reminiscent of an ancient sepulchre (such as that of Cecilia Metella on the via Appia), this overhangs an inlet of still waters on which play the reflections of three barges moored nearby; on one a man pitching hay is silhouetted against the golden sky. To the right a pair of merchants in conversation, lit by the evening sun, draws our attention across the bay to the layered landscape of cliffs plummeting into the sea. The low viewpoint of the scene emphasises the majestic grandeur of the setting, while details such as the merchants gathered round their cooking pot to the right, or the cockle gatherers in the inlet and the seamen at work on their barges by the tower lend this scene an idyllic atmosphere at once picturesque and familiar. Remarkably, this romantic sea view was probably painted in the artist's studio around 1650, probably in response to new demand stimulated by a peak of Dutch trading activity with the south during this period.
Current Accession Number 88096674
Inscription front lr 'JA' (in monogram)
Subject landscape; figure
Measurements 99.1 x 85.7 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased by English Heritage with the support of Friends of Audley End, the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Arts Collections Fund 2002.
Provenance Presumed to have been acquired by Sir John Griffin Griffin, first Baron Braybrooke (1719-1797); first recorded at Audley End as by Asselijn 1836; Richard, 3rd Baron Braybrooke (1783-1858); then by descent to the Braybrooke Trustees; by whom transferred to Agnew's 1981; sold Christie's, London, 11 December 1984, lot 123; bought Linda and Gerald Guterman; Sotheby's, New York 14 January 1988, lot 1; private collector, Canada; Sotheby's, New York, 24 January 2002, bought Johnny Van Haeften until 2002.
Principal Exhibitions Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Italian Recollections: Dutch Painters of the Golden Age, Montreal, 1990, cat. no. 4.
Publications Richard, 3rd Lord Braybrooke, The History of Audley End and Saffron Walden, 1836, p.1 19. No. 11; Catalogue of the Pictures at Audley End: The Property of Lord Braybrooke, 1871, no.1; Walker, R. J. B., Audley End, Essex: Catalogue of the Pictures in the State Rooms, London, 1964, p. 14, no. 10; Wright, C., Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collections, London, 1989, p. 164.
Notes Together with Jan Both and Jan Baptist Weenix, Jan Asselijn (about 1610-1652) was the most influential 'Dutch Italianate' painter of the second generation. His sun lit idealised visions of the Mediterranean south, inspired artists such as Berchem, Dujardin, Pynacker and Cuyp. He was born in Dieppe but trained in Amsterdam, probably with Jan Martseen the Younger. He travelled to Rome soon after 1635 where, with Weenix he joined a group of Dutch artists known as the 'Bentvueghels'. By 1644 he had returned as far north as Lyon where he married. In 1646 he was in Paris where he contributed to the decoration of the Louvre; the following year he was settled back in Amsterdam where his friend Rembrandt etched his portrait in 1648; he died in 1652.
Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author Francesco Nevola




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