Lion, 1728-1808

Seascape with storm

oil on canvas, cm 56×89

These two elegant pendant paintings illustrate, with subtle pastel shades yet striking contrast, two very different moments of life at sea. The serene view of boats that are placidly moored and anchored in the morning mist, as the seamen gradually resume their work, is offset by the other painting, which features a dramatic scene of a shipwreck with sailors facing the fury of the elements.

The pair of paintings essentially appears to contrast two genres of landscape, the serene vision of nature in the style of Claude Lorrain and the “picturesque” represented by Salvator Rosa: the Apollonian and the Dionysian.

Our two paintings can be attributed to Jean Pillement, a French artist specialized in pastoral and marinas subjects. In regard with this pendant, another version – with the same dimension – is already known at Uffizi Gallery (inv. 1890 nn. 1001, 1007) while an additional one of ‘Seascape with anchored boats’ belongs to Ringling Museum in Sarasota (cm 63×85).