Oil on canvas: 39 x 47 cm;
signed A. Storck (centre left, on the jetty wall)
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The artist belonged to a family of painters in Amsterdam, including his father, Jan Jansz. Sturch, who later changed his name to Sturckenburch, and two brothers, Johannes and Jacobus. Of the four, only paintings by Jacobus and Abraham are known to survive. Trained by his father, Abraham was greatly influenced by Ludolf Bakhuizen in the pictorial treatment of sky and water, but he also absorbed influences from other well-known Amsterdam marine painters, notably Willem van de Velde II and Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten (the Beerstraten and Storck families were close friends and distantly related by marriage). The Van de Veldes, father and son, may have inspired Storck’s accuracy in the rendering of ships’ rigging and technical details, which is admired by naval historians.
, and which is visible here in the sailors unfurling the mainsail of the ship of the line in the centre left. Storck’s most attractive and popular paintings are his views of harbour cities and river scenes of which the present picture is a particularly fine example. It is also very characteristic in its depiction of the recreational and ceremonial aspects of shipping, with an emphasis on colorful pleasure yachts occupied by passengers in festive dress. The emphasis on spectators and passengers in his marine ‘parades’ and in scenes of commercial and pleasure shipping gave Storck an opportunity to exercise his considerable skill in rendering the human figure, a skill that many other marine painters lacked and that is amply demonstrated in the present work.
The emphasis on spectators and passengers in his scenes of commercial and pleasure shipping gave Storck an opportunity to exercise his considerable skill in painting the human figure, a skill that many other marine painters lacked and that is clearly demonstrated in the present work. Like Johannes Lingelbach, he seems to have on occasion painted the staffage in other painters’ scenic views (for example The Dam at Amsterdam by Jan van Kessel in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, or the Wooded landscape by Meindert Hobbema sold in these Rooms, 11 July 2001). Storck was also an excellent draughtsman, and drawings by him are preserved in several museums, including in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Vienna, Edinburgh, Cambridge and London.