In the preamble, it should be noted that the painting bears a Vernet signature. Discovery during cleaning, it is small, unreported and its graphics correspond to those referenced. However, I propose this beautiful painting as a workshop and not the hand of Vernet.
There are two notable influences in this painting, that of the frozen Claude dit Lorrain (to be more precise of a painting now exposed in Leningrad) and an Italian influence in, for example, the realization of the waves that can make us think of the work of Canaletto (1697-1768) but also of Antonio Joli de Dipi (1700-1777).
These two influences bring us back again to Vernet, who in 1734 at the age of 20 went to Rome to study the paintings of Lorrain and the work of Canaletto. So we could think that our painting could be painted at this time and therefore would be a work of youth of the artist.
In any case, this table is superb. Note the quality in general and in particular the extreme care taken to the smallest details. The sky and its nuances, the waves, the characters, the ancient Rome with its pyramid of Cestius, the plants of the bottom and those who cover the columns, the ship to the left of the tower with this sailor hanging from the rigging of the wing, to hardly noticeable ... everything attracts the eye and the eye never tires.
Canvas 74 cm by 62 cm
Beautiful wooden carved frame of 90 cm by 78 cm
Joseph Vernet (1714-1789)
Claude Joseph Vernet is formed in the South West of France. His masters are Louis René Vialy, Philippe Sauvan and Adrien Manglard. In 1734, Claude went to Rome to study the work of previous landscape painters and naval painters like Le Lorrain, whose style and subjects are found in Vernet's paintings. He built a solid international network for this trip, and later in Paris via the salons, the Royal Academy and Masonic lodges.
The cosmopolitan sociability that this network provokes allows him to deploy his talents of society to launch, deliberately as his book of reason shows, the fashion of the navies across Europe, notably by skillfully exploiting the repercussion produced by the greatest royal order. of paintings of the reign of Louis XV: that, in 1753, of twenty paintings of the ports of France.
The King ordered twenty-four pictures of French ports to inform him of life in the ports; only fifteen paintings will be made, from 1753 to 1765 (Marseille, Bandol, Toulon, Antibes, Sète, Bordeaux, Bayonne, La Rochelle, Rochefort and Dieppe); some ports are represented multiple times. Vernet was asked to represent on each table, in the foreground, activities specific to the region. These paintings are therefore true evidence of life in the ports 250 years ago, and make him one of the greatest painters of the navy. They will earn him recognition, during his lifetime, by most of the nobles most attached to the navy - thus, the Marquis de Laborde.
From then on, Vernet can sell its marines favorably, "by the weight of gold" if one believes Pierre-Jean Mariette. In fact, the list of its sponsors is as varied and international as prestigious; it includes, among other famous figures, Catherine II of Russia.
An admirer of Poussin and Lorrain, whose effects on sunsets were also reflected in the setting sun, also in the moonlight, Vernet managed to create, by dint of work, his own style.
It generally represents nature by giving a lot of room to the sky; he can also animate each place with characters and scenes from everyday life. His son Carle Vernet, his grandson Horace Vernet and his great-grandson Émile Vernet-Lecomte were also painters. An English painter, Gabriel Mathias, was a broker of Joseph Vernet for Great Britain.