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Philips Wouwerman, Seashore with Fishwives offering Fish

Key facts
Full title A View on a Seashore with Fishwives offering Fish to a Horseman
Artist Philips Wouwerman
Artist dates 1619 - 1668
Date made 1650-68
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 35.3 × 41.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG880
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Seashore with Fishwives offering Fish
Philips Wouwerman

There is a cold grey dawn, but a promise of winter sun as the wind sweeps away the clouds on a Dutch seashore. A young horseman leans down towards a woman kneeling in the shadow of his mount – she holds a large fish up towards him. A patch of light picks out the white apron of a red-cheeked woman smiling up at him and, behind her, the rump of a white horse laden with fishing nets. The turn of its head and the pointing arm of a man nearby draw the eye to the boats in the distance.

Wouwerman is at his skilful best in this delicate and atmospheric scene. He painted detail and subtle colour on an oak board to facilitate the smooth running of the paint, achieving lightness and airiness in the fleeting clouds and depth in the shadows below.

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