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Abraham Storck – A River View

Abraham Storck or Stuckenburch, was a Dutch painter of marine topography and harbour scenes.  He was born to a family of painters, as both his father and two brothers were painters.  They used the name Storck over Stuckenburch for convenience. He trained at his father’s workshop, Painting cityscapes, and was member of the Guild of Saint Luke, otherwise, it was impossible to trade his paintings.  He travelled with this brother Jacob to Germany in 1694, where they lived and worked. There he was influenced by the work of Willem van de Veldes, for his accurate paintings of ships and landscape, Ludolf Bakhuizen a German painter and draughtsman, and by Jan Abrahamsz Beersraaten, who inspired him of some winter scenes.  At the end of his life, he lived in Kattenburg near the harbour where he enjoyed much inspiration of his ceremonial nautical subjects.

Storck painted harbour scenes of Mediterranean ports, with architectural topography in great detail.  This type of Scenery depicted the popular 18th-century Italian capriccio.  Capriccio was a painting style of the era that shared architectural fantasy scenes which encloses much architectural and or archaeological elements or ruins.  It may include figures but it concentrated on the landscape of fictional and fantastic combinations.

Storck in his paintings he depicted ships in much technical detail and accuracy, that portrays marine information of the time.  He often included people watching and acting about in his scenery, but much attention was given to the landscape, marine and architectural information and detail.  He also depicted the display of pleasure yachts and ceremonial aspects of shipping.  He is celebrating a plurality on his paintings, with much effort and detail of the elements of his subjects.

In his painting “A River View,” Storck shares a naval scenery by the river.  The details on the boats are explicit, being able to recognize to this day the Dutch ‘boeier’ yacht, and the Dutch ‘tjalk’ a sprig- sail barge. At the back, we can identify the ‘statenjacht’ a vessel used by the Dutch State General to transport its members and representatives of foreign affairs.  The scenery is vivid and shares a relaxing glance of the seascape in clam and sprightly sunset colours.  The scenery is embraced with live scenes of sailors and fishermen who spread joy and motion over the painting.  At the foreground a woman giggles with a traveller passing by, accompanied by a dog, sharing a spirited glimpse to the scenery.  A couple of men are contemplating upon the scene by the seaside, further back another man is fishing.  The positioning of these figures at the front of the painting separates the scene in four layers.  Activities transpire on the foreground, the second layer depicts the seascape with the yachts and sailors, the third precedes with the town at the horizon and fourth portrays the vivid sanguine sky.  The natural representation in the painting, both the sky and the trees on the left, along with the sea reflecting the colours of the day, is soothing and share with the viewer the calmness and prominence of nature.  However, the painting shares much activity and encompasses much multiplicity of subjects, making the painting full of motion and adventure. At the back centre of the painting, Rotterdam Cathedral is depicted but the positioning of the building is not topographically accurate.

Storck has attributed a generous naval painting where the portrait of his time unfolds before the viewer, sharing information about the era, and allotting a vigorous guise of his scenery.

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Abraham Storck – A River View


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