Shipping Anchored in a Calm Sea

Jan van de Cappelle, ca. 1624 - 1679

Shipping Anchored in a Calm Sea

Jan van de Cappelle ca. 1624 - 1679


The calm waters and cool light of this harbour scene with its towering expanse of blue sky offer an idealised vision of life on and around the sea. Van de Cappelle preferred atmospheric effects, watery reflections and vast, cloud filled skies to rough seas or the hard labour of sailors. Here, ships lie at anchor in a flat calm, their tall sails drooping. A slight breeze stirs the Dutch flags at the mast tops. The action is provided by a crowded rowing boat making its way between the vessels and by figures busy on the shore. Nonetheless, the absence of waves from the boat and visible effort by the crew render the human element quite static. Despite being considered one of the outstanding marine painters of the 17th century, Van de Cappelle was an amateur painter, whose thriving dye-works, which he inherited from his father and managed with his brother, enabled him to build up an extensive art collection. It included paintings by the marine artist Simon de Vlieger, who greatly influenced his work.

Display Label

Shipping Anchored in a Calm Sea 1650s Jan van de Cappelle about 1623/5 - 1679 Oil on panel Van de Cappelle owned a thriving dye-works This enabled him to build up a large art collection. The sophistication of taste it revealed did not appear to influence the individual style of his own painting. Here he achieves a feeling of tranquility by the large expanse of clear blue sky and the emphasis on horizontals and verticals. His feeling for composition was instinctive unlike his fellow countryman, Mondrian (1872 - 1944), who consciously sought spirituality through geometry. Assheton - Bennett bequest 1979.453

Object Name

Shipping Anchored in a Calm Sea

Creators Name

Jan van de Cappelle

Date Created



Panel: 26.2cm x 23.3cm
Frame: 42cm x 39.5cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint on panel


Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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