"This luminous scene is signed and dated 1749; it was painted in Rome, where Vernet lived between 1734 and 1752.

The reasons for Vernet’s success as one of the leading landscape painters of the 18th century are clear from this painting. He successfully blends the admired but contradictory styles of two revered 17th century predecessors - Claude Lorrain (the light and serene atmosphere) and Salvator Rosa (the rugged cliff, lightning-blasted tree and colourful figures). Recent cleaning has fully revealed his exquisite touch and subtle light effects. "


  • Title: An Italianate Harbour Scene
  • Date: 1749
  • Physical Dimensions: w1178 x h1044 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: French
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: ?Commissioned by M. Sauvan, Jan. 1749; sold 12 Mar. 1782, lot 138, and 8 Apr. 1783, lot 85, both presumably in Paris; London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Inscriptions: Joseph Vernet f Romae
  • Further Information: Vernet trained first with is father in Avignon and then with Philippe Sauvan in Aix-en-Provence. He was in Rome from 1734-52 and whilst there established a reputation as a painter of landscapes and coastal scenes. On his return to France, Vernet was received at the Academy in 1753 and commissioned to paint a series of the Ports de France for the King. The vessel on the left flies the Union Jack. It has been suggested that it might be a picture recorded in the artist's account book as commissioned by 'M. Sauvan' in January 1749, but that picture was of upright format.
  • Artist: Vernet, Claude Joseph
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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