barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Jan van de Cappelle (about 1625 – 1679)

Boats on the River Waal

Amsterdam, the 1650s

Oil on canvas

71 x 63.5 cm


This landscape shows a ferry, as well as fishing and trading vessels, on the choppy waters of the River Waal in southern Holland.  The church tower of Gorinchem is to the left, with Loevestein Castle on the opposite bank.

The location, however, is less important than the contrasting play of light and shadow on water, land and vessels.  The low horizon and the upright format give prominence to a lively cloudscape. Van de Cappelle specialised in marine subjects, often of boats becalmed.  Like many Dutch painters he had another trade, working as a merchant.


Purchased 1943 (No.43.1)