Seascape with storm
oil on canvas, 56×89 cm
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.
Also one of the greatest painters specialized in these motifs, the Frenchman Joseph Claude Vernet, loved to offer his customers, most of whom were foreigners taking their Grand Tour in Italy, paintings of both types. Verned had chosen to remain in Rome, where he had arrived in 1734 to become the pupil of a fellow countryman and painter of seascapes, Adrien Manglard.
The author of our works is Jean Pillement, a French artist specialized in pastoral and marine subjects. Another version of this pendant is known at the Uffizi Galleries (inv. 1890 nn. 1001, 1007) of the same measures; another version of the Seascape with anchored boats is at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota (63×85 cm).