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A Sea-Shore
Claude-Joseph Vernet
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This Italian coastal scene bathed in soft sunlight is influenced by the port scenes of Claude, though much of the effect in Vernet’s painting depends upon its picturesque human detail. Two fashionably dressed ladies have been brought down to the shore by a Hungarian hussar, who is drawing their attention either to the large ship about to enter the harbour or to the women gathering shrimps. The ladies are followed by two more modestly dressed women, one apparently comforting the other, and by a dark-skinned Moor wearing a turban. As in other paintings by Vernet, there are also many figures in the middle distance and background, and even on the three-masted ship near the horizon.

Although the painting contains a variety of figures, its main subject is the atmospheric effects of light, air, cloud and water. The harbour view is imaginary, but the lighthouse is loosely based on one that Vernet drew in Naples in about 1750.

Key facts
Artist Claude-Joseph Vernet
Artist dates 1714 - 1789
Full title A Sea-Shore
Date made 1776
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 62.2 x 85.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Richard Simmons, 1846
Inventory number NG201
Location in Gallery Room 40
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