Bonaventura Peeters I
Antwerp 1614 – 1652 Hoboken
A Dutch Man-of-War and Other Vessels on the Merwede and Dordrecht Beyond
Oil on panel 38.5 x 59 cm
Signed with initials lower right, on the piece of driftwood: ‘B. P.’
Private collection, United Kingdom
With Jan Muller, Ghent
A man-of-war under full sail fires a salute. There is a stiff breeze and the water is choppy. The river Merwede takes up the entire foreground and middle zone. The mighty canopy of billowing clouds imbues the sweeping panorama with a sense of atmospheric grandeur and the stale grey sky powerfully offsets the colourful flags of the vessels.
Bonaventura Peeters is the preeminent master of marine painting of seventeenth-century Flanders and his oeuvre connects the tonal phase with the classicizing of the latter half of the century. Peeters is known for storm scenes with a penchant for capricious and precarious intimidating rock formations rising up from the sea. One of his other specialities were harbour views, imaginary and identifiable ones, such as the present. Interestingly, as a Fleming he chose cities from the Southern as well as from the Northern Netherlands. His
His horizon even stretched to foreign harbours such as Copenhagen, Stockholm and more southern locations, including Monte Felix in the Canary Islands. Largely based in Antwerp, these evocations no doubt largely depend on the use of prints and other visual sources. Peeters who seems to have suffered from a poor health will not have travelled extensively.
Bonaventura Peeters I was born into a family of artists; two of his brothers and a sister also became painters. Bonaventura is listed as a master in the Antwerp guild of St Luke for the first time in 1634/35 but his earliest dated picture is of 1632. He remained in Antwerp until circa 1650, when he moved to Hoboken, where he died on 25 July 1652 a bachelor.