The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Coast Scene with Classical Ruins
  • Jan Baptist Weenix (1621 - 1660)
  • A Coast Scene with Classical Ruins
  • Netherlands
  • 1649
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 82 x 107.5 cm
  • Signature: 'Gio: Batta / Weenix / an.1649 / 16 / Sep[tembris]'
  • P117
  • East Galleries III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • An early, unevenly executed, example of the Mediterranean harbour scenes painted by Jan Baptist Weenix and his son Jan (cf. Attributed to Jan Weenix P146). Painted in Weenix’s slightly nervous, fractured style, an Italianate setting is suggested by Corinthian columns, a porphyry tomb (copied from one which then stood before the Pantheon, Rome) and a pyramid, evoking the tomb of Cestius near the Porta Ostiensis, Rome. The motif of the couple dallying before antique ruins may be intended to warn the viewer of the dangers to which such dissipation leads, namely to metaphorical ruin and death. By the time of the picture’s purchase in the nineteenth century, however, any possible moralizing connotations had been forgotten. Weenix’s harbour scenes were then appreciated principally for their picturesque decorative qualities.