A Dutch ship close-hauled
Aert Anthonisz (1579-1620) was born in Antwerp, but moved to Amsterdam at an early age, presumably around 1590. Stylistically his seascapes betray a Flemish influence. The small panel of two Dutch three-masters off a rocky coast gliding through glassy-green waves with elegant white crests is characterized by the typical simplification and stylisation of the natural form, which is generally associated with the 16th century tradition of the Southern Netherlands. The same is true for the beholder's high viewpoint, which allows an overview of the deck of the three-master sailing before the wind at the centre of the composition. All details of the ship's rigging, such as the reef-points, are displayed with great merit. The artist, therefore, clearly distinguished between the rendering of nature and the man-made world. The meaning of the depicted action remains unclear. It is difficult to determine whether the ship is trying to escape both the rocks on the right and the Dutch battleship in the left background, or whether there is no specific narrative or allegorical meaning attached to the image. Images like this, possibly dated around 1610, laid an iconographic and stylistic basis for the development of the Dutch seascape later in the 17th century.
- Image reference: BHC0713
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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