Pieter Mulier I


Oil on canvas, 50.2 x 38.2 cm
In the foreground, on a board sticking out of the water, there are traces of a signature.

The authorship of the Dutch artist Pieter Mulier the Elder was established as a result of a comparative analysis of the stylistic, compositional and iconographic features of this seascape with the signature and recognized works of this artist. In close proximity to our landscape is, for example, “Seascape”, wood, oil, 33x33.1. Both seascapes have in common: the unity of the compositional structure of the stormy sky, in the form of a contrasting silhouette of a bright opening framed by clouds; interpretation of sea waves in the form of pointed pyramids; darkened foreground (influence of Jan Porcelisse); angle of a sea vessel and the image of a glare on its wet side. The originality of the work is indicated by a rare genre detail in the seascape: fishermen are trying to catch someone’s cargo lost during a storm from the sea.

A typical example of Dutch tonal landscape. The problem of conveying moist sea air in painting led to the emergence of a unique phenomenon in European culture of the 17th century - tonal coloring. Artists, consciously limiting the palette, abandoned bright, local colors and used silver-ocher or olive tones. All details of the picture were depicted through gradations of tone. Air “filled” the illusory space in the painting; everything in it was immersed in a single light-air environment. Tonal coloring was used in all genres, but especially in sea and coastal landscapes, where the light-air environment was most clearly revealed in perspective distances. The tonal landscape was a real discovery of the Dutch artists of the 17th century and served to form the principles of realism in Dutch painting.

Dutch realism