Claude-Joseph Vernet An Italian Harbour in Stormy Weather
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The majority of the 200 works in William V’s collection were Dutch or Flemish, but there were a small number of Italian, German and French pieces. Of the French paintings, these two works by Vernet are undoubtedly the finest. Vernet spent a considerable amount of time in Italy and specialised in imagined Italianate landscapes and seascapes. He excelled at contrasting the insignificance of man with the majesty of nature.
Both paintings were originally in the collection of Cardinal Gonzaga of Rome. After his death, the two Vernets were put up for auction in Amsterdam, where they were purchased for Prince William V.
Cardinal Valenti Gonzaga, Rome, until 1763; Prince William V, The Hague, 1764-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum Central des Arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822
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