BERCHEM, Nicolaes
(b. 1620, Haarlem, d. 1683, Amsterdam)

A Harbour Scene

Oil on canvas, 68 x 81 cm
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

The history of the Dutch seventeenth-century Mediterranean harbour view dates back to Flemish painters like Paul Bril and Jan Brueghel the Elder, who inspired the Italian artists Agostino Tassi and Filippo Napoletano. These Italians, in turn, exerted enormous influence on Claude Lorrain, who combined elaborate fantasy palaces and classical ruins with ordinary genre scenes and turned them into a new type of seaport painting. The Mediterranean harbour view became a popular subject with Dutch Italianate painters active in Rome, Jan Baptist Weenix, Jan Asselyn and Adam Pynacker.

Berchem never visited Italy, he drew inspiration for his Italianate harbour views from the paintings of Jan Baptist Weenix and Jan Asselyn, which are characterized by a fictitious combination of well-known classical buildings in a landscape with genre figures.

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