JAN VAN GOYEN

Haarlem Sea

1656

Oil on oakwood
Inv. No. 1015

40 × 56 cm

zur  Biographie

A prominent landscape painter, van Goyen grants the sea only one quarter of the picture’s height. Fishermen put out their nets; two boyers head for an island. The squat church structure with the crossing tower on the coast at the far right could well be St. Bavo, the principal church of Haarlem. By far the largest proportion of the picture surface, however, is devoted to the sky, and the diagonal bands of clouds of varying shades that pass across it. The shadows they cast likewise break the surface of the water into zones of varying degrees of brightness. The subtly nuanced chiaroscuro painting, almost monochrome in palette, secures the work an outstanding place in van Goyen’s late work.

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