Jacob Bellevois was a prolific marine painter from Rotterdam, who has lived there and in Gouda; he also made a trip to Hamburg.
Here we see two English ships sailing in stormy conditions off the coast.
His rough seas were influenced by Simon de Vliegher.
About Jacob Adriaensz. Bellevois
Dutch marine painter
Rotterdam 1620/21 – 1676 Rotterdam
His father came from Ghent in Flanders.
Jacob Bellevois married in 1643 in Rotterdam; the couple had 4 children, but they lost them all. His wife died in 1652.
Bellevois remarried in Rotterdam in 1656. The new couple was recorded the same year as living in Gouda. They had 2 boys. His second wife died in 1670.
Bellevois was recorded in Gouda again in 1671.
He visited Hamburg in 1673–74.
Nothing is known about Bellevois’ training but his monochrome paintings of vessels in a calm sea indicate the influence of Jan Porcellis (Ghent 1583/85 – 1632 Zoeterwoude), the local artist from Rotterdam of great repute, and of his son Julius Porcellis (Rotterdam 1610/19 – 1645 Leiden).
Bellevois’ stormy seas are influenced by Simon de Vliegher (Rotterdam 1600/01 – 1653 Weesp), De Vliegher is documented in Rotterdam between 1642 and 1644. He died already in 1653.
About our painting
The main ships both fly the English flag, that is the Cross of St George: a red cross on a white field.
That flag should not be mistaken with the Spanish flag, the Burgundy cross (“Batons de Bourgogne”): an x-shaped red cross on a white field. That was based on the wooden cross where St. Andrew was crucified on: two crossed, roughly knotted, red branches on a white field. At the origin that had been the flag of Burgundy (including Flanders). Following the marriage of Mary of Burgundy with Maximilian of Austria in Ghent in 1477 it became a Spanish Habsburg flag up till 1785.
In 1785 King Charles III of Spain decided to change this flag due to similarities with the English Cross of Saint George. Imagine English and Spanish enemy ships sailing in stormy waters: shooting at a compatriot’s ship would have been an easy mistake … .
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is an excellent example of the mastery of Dutch 17th century sea painters in rendering the atmospheric conditions in a gale: a dramatic sky over foamy waves that battering the ships.