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Charles-François de Lacroix, A Seaport

Key facts
Full title A Seaport
Artist Charles-François de Lacroix
Artist dates about 1730 - after 1792
Date made about 1760
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 97.2 × 134 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Isabel Tarratt, in memory and in accordance with the wishes of her mother, Mrs Caroline Tarratt, 1894
Inventory number NG1393
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Seaport
Charles-François de Lacroix

This scene is set in an imaginary Mediterranean port facing south into a gentle breeze that scarcely ruffles the sea. The sun is nearly setting, tingeing the clouds with a hazy peachy light. A gentleman and two finely dressed ladies are standing on the harbour, which is also peopled with turbaned sailors and merchants. The scene, typical of Vernet and his followers, is a composite of elements taken from other paintings.

Since the lighthouse, the fortification and the jetty appear in many of Vernet’s compositions throughout his career, it is not surprising that this painting was bought and for many years displayed as an authentic work by him. It is now believed to be by Charles-François de Lacroix, although he was not the only artist working in Vernet’s style. Stylistically the warm tones of this painting, the soft contrasts of light and relatively loose brushwork all suggest that Lacroix painted it about 1760.

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