This small book is a tribute to Jan Porcellis, the “Raphael of marine painting”, as Van Hoogstraten called him.
His earliest works are entirely in the manner of his teacher, Hendrick Vroom, with stylised green waves and sea-monsters. Gradually, though, he began to break free of this attractive but inhibiting straitjacket, and introduced an entirely new theme in marine painting, using monochrome grey tones to brilliant effect to suggest the atmosphere of light, air and water. He totally abandoned the rigid symbolism of the preceding period, and explored new avenues to prepare the way for a new generation of
Porcellis's significance only becomes fully apparent when one reviews the long line of artists who are indebted to him. They include the greatest masters of the marine, such as Simon de Vlieger, Jan van de Cappelle, Willem van de Velde the Younger, Ludolf Bakhuizen and Jan van Goyen, who in turn inspired the artists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
"The art of his brush excels especially in the natural depiction of storms at sea, in which the thunderclouds that turn day into night, and the mighty streaks of lightning that emerge from the massed clouds, flash so naturally against rocks, beaches and the foaming brine that a landsman would be afeared of the sea", wrote the eighteenth-century Houbraken.