Bonaventura Peeters, the Elder - Dutch Ferry Boats in a Fresh Breeze



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Title Original caption: “Dutch Ferry Boats in a Fresh Breeze
English: This painting shows Dutch boats in a fresh breeze. Boats traverse a busy waterway in order to reach the land which is visible on the far right of the composition. Two boats are laden with passengers and are ferrying people to and from the town in the distance. The largest vessel, in the centre left of the painting, is a kaag. Kaags were light cargo craft used for transporting people and provisions. The Dutch double-prince flag of the Amsterdam Admiralty is prominently positioned within the painting, flying from the mast of this ferry boat. This contributes to the ‘recognizably Dutch’ character of the scene. The vessel sails away from the viewer and holds people sitting around its sides. Its passengers face one another and are presumably engaged in social interaction. The only exception is the figure of the man in the hat, who stares outwards, seemingly engaging with the self-aware gaze of the viewer. Another man is attending to the rigging. On the right, the smaller ferry boat is visibly crammed with passengers too. Most of whom are economically articulated using tiny daubs of paint. This craft is of a flatter construction and sits lower in the water. The passengers are seated in the bow and a crew member is busy at the stern. Sails of other craft are visible in the distance. On the far left a merchant ship is at anchor. Two-thirds of the painting is occupied with the sky. A storm cloud sits over the centre of the scene. However, here, as in his roughly contemporary work, ‘Seascape with Sailors Sheltering from a Rainstorm.
Date 1640s
Medium oil on oak panel
Dimensions 33 × 38.2 × 6 cm (13 × 15 × 2.4 in)
Accession number BHC0760
Source/Photographer National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Palmer Collection


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