Cornelis Hendriksz. Vroom (Danzig 1590/92-1661 Haarlem) A Dutch man-o'-war off a fortified coast, oil on panel, 26 x 63 cm, framed ÜBERLANGTEXT
G. van den Brink, Amsterdam;
sale, Christie’s, London, 9 February 1979, lot 15
The present painting is listed in the RKD database under no. 2960.
The present panel shows a man-o’-war in full sail, flying the flag of the Dutch Republic whilst firing its bow chaser in salute to the garrison of the castle standing on the cliff to the left and is a characteristic example of the oeuvre of Cornelis Hendriksz. Vroom, working here in the style of his illustrious father, and tutor, Hendrik Cornelisz. Vroom, the founder of Dutch marine painting.
Born in the city port of Haarlem, Cornelis, is assumed to have travelled widely, as his father also did. However, the influence of Haarlem artists can be seen in his works, notably the meticulous handling of landscape and skies which employed his contemporary Jacob van Ruisdael. In the present work, however, Cornelis adheres to the artistic conventions employed by his father, who transformed marine painting in Northern Europe, moving away from the traditional bird’s-eye-view perspective, to more immediate, lower viewpoints such as here, where the breaking water at the bows of the ships, and the human activity of their sailors is so vividly registered. The fish jumping in the foaming waves, also enlivens the composition in typical fashion.
Although the view here appears to be a Capriccio, Cornelis would have had access to drawings of actual fortresses and coastlines made by him and his father, who was shipwrecked off the coast of Scandinavia, and indeed the present rocky inlet is redolent of the topography of the Kattegat between Denmark and Norway.