Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Mediterranean capriccio harbour scene

Jacobus Storck (Amsterdam 1641-1687)
A Mediterranean capriccio harbour scene 
signed and dated 'I.Storck. Fecit/ 1679' (lower left)
oil on canvas
132 x 200.5cm (51 15/16 x 78 15/16in).

Based on the similarity of palette, style and compositions between the works of Jacobus and his younger brother Abraham, it is thought that they shared a family studio. The careful characterisation of the figures and the detail of the costume in the present painting suggests that Abraham may have assisted with the staffage. This was not uncommon, as Abraham is also thought to have painted the figures in other marine landscapists' work.

The topographical details incorporated in many of the capricci by Jacobus and Abraham suggest that they must have travelled widely within the Netherlands, as well as to a number of German cities, along the Rhine and to Italy. The Italian influence is evident in the present painting, with the church of San Giovanni e Paolo and Colleoni monument in Venice providing the inspiration for the architecture in this coastal port.

A drawing by Abraham Storck, signed and dated 1676, showing the church, cupola and sculpture on the left of the present painting, is now the Prints and Drawings collection at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.