Jan van de
Cappelle (c. 1626-1679)
Seascape, c. 1660
Oil on canvas - 88.5 x 113.5 cm
The Hague, Mauritshuis
Photo : Mauritshuis
15/4/08 — Acquisition — The Hague, Mauritshuis — The Dutch museum acquired a masterpiece by the seascape artist Jan van de Cappelle (ill.) late last year. Canvases by van de Cappelle are relatively rare as he divided his time between painting and running the family dye business and most likely stopped painting around 1633 to devote himself entirely to the latter. He was also one of the biggest collectors of the time, leaving a considerable group of works when he died including notably hundreds of engravings (500 by Rembrandt) and drawings by Avercamp, Van Goyen and Simon de Vliegler, who was probably his master.
Van de Cappelle’s seascapes generally, as is the case of the painting acquired by the Mauritshuis, represent vessels in tranquil waters, where the sea and the sky are rendered in metallic gray colors. Museums in the Netherlands own few paintings such as this one (one is at the Rijksmuseum). On the other hand, many can be found in the United Kingdom, particularly in London (the National Gallery has 9). Apparently, the British seemed to appreciate this type of seascape described by the Petit Larousse de la peinture as resembling at times “although with different and more natural means, the poetry of Claude” . It would seem that van de Cappelle is missing from French museums.