(b. 1642, Amsterdam, d. 1719, Amsterdam)
An Italian Seaportc. 1666
Oil on canvas, 115 x 159 cm
Staatliche Museen, Kassel
Jan Weenix took over this subject from his father and teacher, Jan Baptist Weenix, who had been a member of the Netherlandish artists' colony in Rome in the 1640s and had made a popular subject of the southern port. Like his father's works, An Italian Seaport is characterised by a balanced relationship between landscape and coast. Warmth of colour and citations from classical architecture give the painting its Italianate character. The knowledgeable viewer would have associated the temple with the Forum Romanum in Rome, though it does not of course stand by the sea. Also identifiable in the background is the Pyramid of Cestius, shown here taller and more sharply tapered. The urn on the plinth refers to the Medici Vase (now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence) which, from its discovery in 1583/84 until 1780, was part of the Medici collection in Rome, and which from the mid-seventeenth-century had become well known through its many depictions.