A Fishing Boat in Rough Sea off a Rocky Shore

A dramatic depiction of a rough sea driving a two-masted vessel, probably a hooker, into a narrow channel between the soaring crag on the left and the rocks. The foaming water indicates the ferocity of the waves and the highly charged scene is emphasized by the bizarre shapes of the rocks. Other shipping is visible in the distance on the left and land can be seen in the distance on the right. Figures are visible on the deck of the hooker and other sailors shelter on a rocky promontory in the left foreground. A fishing boat or shallop has been beached on the far left foreground, with one sailor shown on board. A group of figures huddle around an open fire and in the central foreground of the picture three men stand on the shoreline looking at the ship, with the man on the far left gesturing towards it. In this painting, the artist has used a variety of techniques to create a dramatic effect. The towering rocks in the foreground are exaggerated in height and position and are not intended to be interpreted topographically. Their stand against the crashing waves was intended to be a metaphor for man's own struggle with the sea, indicating a close but vulnerable interrelationship with the forces of nature.

Julius Porcellis, a marine painter, was the son of Jan Porcellis, who was considered the greatest marine painter of his day. The painting is signed 'IP', at lower left on the rocks.

Object Details

ID: BHC0717
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Porcellis, Julius
Date made: 1620s
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Palmer Collection. Acquired with the assistance of H.M. Treasury, the Caird Fund, the Art Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Society for Nautical Research Macpherson Fund.
Measurements: Frame: 614 mm x 846 mm x 76 mm;Painting: 445 mm x 686 mm

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