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Simon de Vlieger, Storm at sea with cliffs

Around 1640, Oil on canvas, 57.5 x 84.5 cm
Inv. no. V/71/61/K1, 1971 Donation Walter Hentschel

Strong waves beating against rocky cliffs, nebulizing in a bright spume. A dutch sailing ship has run into the reefs, unable to maneuver due to a broken mast. Ever since the ancient world seafaring has offered a wealth of metaphors and idioms relating to the life of human beings and its natural limitedness. It is hard to decide if a contemporary rather thought of metaphors such as ‘solid as a rock’, the threads of our life journey (lat.: navigatio vitae) or of a real ship accident when looking at these paintings.


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