Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

An early practitioner of marine landscape painting, Van Wieringen might have worked as a seafarer before turning his attention to art making. Yet the artist’s conception of imaginary, often dramatic seascapes seems to have been shaped less by his direct experience of the sea than by the tradition of landscape drawing that originated in his native city of Haarlem. In this study, the arched bridge at right connects the mainland with a fantastic crag, crowned with a castle. The heft and stability of the cliff is counterbalanced by the group of sailboats, shown fervently charging toward the center of the composition. The strength of Van Wieringen’s penmanship can be especially appreciated in his depiction of the large boat at left. The sails, rendered using curved parallel strokes, appear to be tensed by the wind, while the ragged flags, rendered with utmost economy, ripple in the air.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Cornelis Claesz. van Wieringen, Dutch (Haarlem, Netherlands 1575/77 - 1633 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Coastal View with Ships, Crag with Castle, and Bridge
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Shipping on an Estuary, a fortified house on a crag near the mouth of a river
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3610, University Teaching Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Brown ink on beige antique laid paper, mounted, framing lines in brown ink, partially trimmed at upper edge
14.7 x 19.4 cm (5 13/16 x 7 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: recto, lower left, brown ink: BN.f
  • inscription: recto, upper left, graphite: Bonaventura Peters
Maida and George Abrams, Boston
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston, Long Term Loan
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 6, repr.

Exhibition History

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, British Museum, London, 06/13/2002 - 09/22/2002; Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 10/10/2002 - 12/08/2002; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

Mirror of Holland: Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Part 1, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 11/20/2010 - 03/06/2011

The Art of Drawing in the Early Dutch Golden Age, 1590–1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/09/2017 - 01/14/2018

Crossroads: Drawing the Dutch Landscape, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2022 - 08/14/2022

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