Smit, Aernout

(Amsterdam 1640 - 1710 Amsterdam)

A Merchantman Firing a Salute

Oil on canvas
46 x 56 cm
Signed and date

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A Merchantman Firing a Salute
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">Beneath a vast formation of creamy billowing clouds a heavily armed Dutch merchantman fires a salute. Alarmed by the sudden noise a bunch of seagulls fly up in all directions. The enormous vessel is dangerously close to the shore. Another three-master can be seen in the middle zone and a third is at anchor in the far distance. In the foreground are two transport vessels, probably kaags. The horizon is a coastline with a town. The faint silhouette of a plump tower can be made out.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">Aernout Smit was an accomplished marine specialist who took his inspiration from Ludolf Bakhuizen and his teacher Jan Teunisz Blanckerhoff.<a href="file:///Z:/Mijn%20documenten/Bijl-Van%20Urk%20BV/Schilderijen%20oud/Smit,%20Arnout/U.K.%20-%20W.W/Smit%20-%20A%20Merchantman%20Firing%20a%20Salute%20-%20BVU.docx#_edn1" name="_ednref1" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">[i]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a> His paintings have often been mistaken for works by these artists. Smit indeed also copied works by, for instance Bakhuizen. In a notarial document of 1689 the artist declared that he had copied a view on the IJ on commission for a certain Hendrick Grel.<a href="file:///Z:/Mijn%20documenten/Bijl-Van%20Urk%20BV/Schilderijen%20oud/Smit,%20Arnout/U.K.%20-%20W.W/Smit%20-%20A%20Merchantman%20Firing%20a%20Salute%20-%20BVU.docx#_edn2" name="_ednref2" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">[ii]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a> <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">Aernout Smit was a prolific painter and his preserved output spans a wide range of marine subjects. He depicted seas as well as inland waters. His paintings show a great variety of shipping in different weather conditions. His stormy seas with sweeping clouds are spectacular. In his calms with their silvery tonality, of which our painting is a good example, Smit strikes a completely different mood. Smit only very rarely dated his paintings.<a href="file:///Z:/Mijn%20documenten/Bijl-Van%20Urk%20BV/Schilderijen%20oud/Smit,%20Arnout/U.K.%20-%20W.W/Smit%20-%20A%20Merchantman%20Firing%20a%20Salute%20-%20BVU.docx#_edn3" name="_ednref3" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">[iii]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a> The present evocative calm is therefore important in tracing the artist&rsquo;s development.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">Documentary evidence relating to Smit&rsquo;s life is scarce. He was probably born in Amsterdam. In a notarial document of 1667 the artist lists his age as &ldquo;about 26&rdquo;, which puts his date of birth in 1640/41. The said document reveals that Smit was employed by the art dealer Laurens Cornelisz de Coninck, for whom he presumably painted. According to the eighteenth-century biographer of artists Arnold Houbraken, Smit studied with Jan Teunisz Blanckerhoff, who worked in Amsterdam between 1659 and 1666. In 1688 the artist is mentioned as a member in the Amsterdam painters&rsquo; guild records.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div><!--[if !supportEndnotes]--><br clear="all" /> <hr align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <!--[endif]--> <div id="edn1"> <p class="MsoEndnoteText"><a href="file:///Z:/Mijn%20documenten/Bijl-Van%20Urk%20BV/Schilderijen%20oud/Smit,%20Arnout/U.K.%20-%20W.W/Smit%20-%20A%20Merchantman%20Firing%20a%20Salute%20-%20BVU.docx#_ednref1" name="_edn1" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">[i]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> For a discussion for Bakhuizen&rsquo;s influence on Smit and an analysis of Smit&rsquo;s style and motifs, see: </span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-ansi-language:NL">G. de Beer, <i>Ludolf Backhuysen: Sein Leben und Werk (1630 - 1708)</i>, Zwolle 2002, pp. 192-197.</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"><o:p></o:p></span></p> </div> <div id="edn2"> <p class="MsoEndnoteText"><a href="file:///Z:/Mijn%20documenten/Bijl-Van%20Urk%20BV/Schilderijen%20oud/Smit,%20Arnout/U.K.%20-%20W.W/Smit%20-%20A%20Merchantman%20Firing%20a%20Salute%20-%20BVU.docx#_ednref2" name="_edn2" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">[ii]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> See for this: J. Giltaij &amp; J. Kelch (eds.), <i>Lof der zeevaart. </i></span><i><span style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;mso-ansi-language:NL">De Hollandse zeeschilders van de 17e eeuw</span></i><span style="font-size:11.0pt;&#10;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;mso-ansi-language:NL">, exh. cat. Rotterdam (Boijmans-Van Beuningen); Berlin (Gem&auml;ldegalerie im Bodemuseum) 1996-97, </span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">p. 383.<o:p></o:p></span></p> </div> <div id="edn3"> <p class="MsoEndnoteText"><a href="file:///Z:/Mijn%20documenten/Bijl-Van%20Urk%20BV/Schilderijen%20oud/Smit,%20Arnout/U.K.%20-%20W.W/Smit%20-%20A%20Merchantman%20Firing%20a%20Salute%20-%20BVU.docx#_ednref3" name="_edn3" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;&#10;font-family:" times="" new="">[iii]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Another painting dated 1671, showing four merchantmen scattered across the scene, with smaller vessels, is in a private collection in The Netherlands. A photo and documentation is at the RKD, The Hague (box 596). A marine with shipping before a Mediterranean coast, strongly reminiscent of his teacher Blanckerhoff, in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (inv. nr. 667) is dated 1678. A late coastal view, dated 1697, was with the Douwes Gallery in 1972 (photo at RKD, The Hague, in box 594).&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> </div> </div> <div> <div id="edn3">&nbsp;</div> </div>

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