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Beach with Fishermen
Willaerts, Adam
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Willaerts, Adam

London, 1577 - Utrecht, 1664

See author's file

Beach with Fishermen

1627. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

This painting is illustrative of the beach scenes monopolised in Utrecht by the Willaerts family, who combined the two typical genres of Dutch painting in their work: seascapes and genre scenes. They are derived from similar compositions by Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom (ca. 1566-1640), although the lower horizon line employed by Adam Willaerts endows the scenes with greater spatial depth which is further accentuated by the strip of light blue sea just below the horizon. The canvas has been cut down on two sides and, therefore, the scene may have been enclosed on either side by rocky shores, fortresses or other compositional elements, as was common in Willaerts`s works.

The seascape appears to be intended to illustrate the various vessels belonging to the Dutch fleet: a rowing boat, fishing boats, galleys and frigates characteristic of the Dutch East India Company - the stern of one of which displays the coat of arms of the city of Amsterdam at different stages in the manoeuvres to hoist and take down the sails.

The compositional structure based on parallel planes of colour is drawn from the seascapes of Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom (P2159).

Willaerts continues to employ this structure even after the new naturalist trend that swept through Dutch painting in the 1620s had caused it to become outdated. The space is arranged more skilfully than in other similar scenes painted by Willaerts, such as Coastal Landscape with Ships, dated 1616 (Vaduz, collection of the Prince of Lichtenstein). The handling of the water`s surface using parallel bands of small foam-crested waves is a typical formal device of Willaerts, which he first used in his famous scene Defeat of the Spaniards at Gibraltar by a Dutch Fleet, dated 1617.

The genre scene on the shore depicts the arrival of the day`s catch, which is carted ashore and spread out on the sand by the fishermen to be sold. The array of fish to the right of the foreground is another of the idiosyncratic features of these Willaerts scenes. From 1650 onwards he was aided by his son-in-law Willem Ormea (1591/1611-1673), a painter specialised in fish still lifes (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, pp. 154-155).


Technical data

Inventory number
Willaerts, Adam
Beach with Fishermen
Height: 83 cm; Width: 125 cm
Royal Collection (Palacio Real, Madrid, 1794 y 1814).

Bibliography +

Gaya Nuño, J.A., Notas al Catálogo del Museo del Prado, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, 1954, pp. 133.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 401.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de pinturas. Escuela flamenca, Museo del Prado; Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 444-445.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1283.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El Triunfo del Mar: las Riquezas Marinas en la Pintura Europea del Siglo XVI, From, Madrid, 2003, pp. 336.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 154-155.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, El paisaje nórdico en el Prado. Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2011, pp. 120-122,163, n. 43.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Rubens, Brueghel, Lorrain. A Paisagem Nórdica do Museu do Prado, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga - INCM - Museo Nacional del Prado, Lisboa, 2013, pp. 119,159 n.43.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1283.
Willarts (Adam) / 1283. Vista de un puerto de mar. / En el se ven varios comerciantes, y en el mismo y en el mar una porcion de embarcaciones, algunas de ellas de grueso porte. / Alto 2 pies, 11 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 4 pies, 5 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1825.
1825.-(1283-R.)-Marina con embarcaciones.-Vense en la playa gentes que compran á los pescadores su mercancía, y un barco que sacan del agua á hombros entre varios marineros / Col. de Carlos II (?)./ Alto 0,83; ancho 1,25.-L.

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. fol.417.
Trescientos veinte y cuatro. Vista de un puerto de Mar, Adam Willartt-Lº 3.300

Inscriptions +

A. Willaerts Ao 1627 [sobre el trozo de madera junto a los pescados]
Signed and dated. Front, Lower right area

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed with chalk. Back, left side

M.N.PRADO / 01899
On metallic tablet. Stretcher

N. 568
Scrap of paper. Stretcher

Nº 1899
Inscribed in pen and ink. Stretcher

Inscribed in pen and ink. Stretcher

Vista de un puerto de / Mar con varios comerci / antes nº 45 en lienzo [con tinta sepia] / V.G.
Inscribed in golden colour. Stretcher

Exhibitions +

La Flandre et la mer
04.04.2015 - 19.07.2015

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
03.12.2013 - 30.03.2014

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
Palma de Mallorca
20.06.2013 - 29.09.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
14.03.2013 - 02.06.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
20.12.2012 - 24.02.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
25.09.2012 - 25.11.2012

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
Santiago de Compostela
01.12.2011 - 18.03.2012

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Displayed objects +


Transport, Maritime / Transport, River

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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