Adriaen van der Cabel, the son of a wheelmaker, was born in 1630 or 1631 at Rijswijk, a village very near to The Hague. The family’s name was Van der Tou, but, on the advice of his master Jan van Goyen, Adriaen changed this into Van der Cabel. He learned with Van Goyen from 1645 till 1648. His earliest extant work, a river landscape in the style of Van Goyen, dates from 1648. During the second half of the 1650’s he stayed a few years in Lyon and by 1659 he arrived in Rome. He became a member of the so- called ‘Bentvueghels’, an informal society of artists from the North. In Rome he collaborated with the famous Italian painter of architectural fantasies Viviano Codazzi. His paintings soon found their way to the collections of important patrons such as Gaspar de Roomer, the Medici, the Orsini and the Colonna. In 1668 he returned to Lyon where he married and spent the remaining years of his life. Adriaen van der Cabel was buried 16 January 1705 in the Église de la Platière, Lyon. His adopted son Adrian Manglard took his stepfather’s work as a point of departure and he became an important painter of coastal views in his own right. Biographical details about his life can be found in: Murk Salverda, Adriaen van der Cabel, schilder van ́lantschappen en watergezichten ́, Rijswijk 2009.
Adriaen van der Cabel’s extant paintings show a clear division between the early work, which are in the style of his master Jan van Goyen, while his later work shows the influence of Claude Lorrain, Agostino Tassi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione and Salvator Rosa. The present pair clearly shows the influence of these internationally orientated masters. Stylistically they fit seamlessly into the corpus of Van der Cabels’s Italianate paintings as has been established by Luigi Salerno, Pittori di paesaggio a Roma, Milano 1976, II, pp. 810-15. They are especially closely related to the fully signed Seascape with a Tower (Salerno, op. cit, color plate XXXI).
Both paintings show a plethora of boat types and are bustling with activities related to coastal life. In the first landscape we notice in the distance a large ship which lies askew in order to be repaired. In both paintings we see a small fire near a boat. This fire was used to clean the body of a ship and to add tear to the seams of the wood. The beautifully colored figures have a classical grace about them. They strongly remind us to the figures in the paintings by the formidable Nicolas Poussin, who worked in Rome all his life and whose works could be studied in various Roman collections.
Today about 50 paintings by Adriaen van der Cabel are known. The rediscovery of the present pair is a fine and significant addition to the oeuvre by Van der Cabel. A date during the 1660’s, the period the master had established himself in Rome, is certainly feasible for the present set.
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