A perfect day under full skies on a brisk Atlantic ocean where an American coastal brigantine slices speedily on her way. A couple of her crew are visible at their tasks, and the brigantine’s sail array is holding firm, with her uppermost courses held in check.
Tyler studied at the side of American renaissance artist and yacht architect A. Cary Smith in New York, and in this work, painted somewhere close to 25 years after those first lessons, echoes his maritime artistry. The ship heels slightly to port with fluid speed, and the dip allows a bit of the deck to be exposed to view. The atmosphere is challenging, with ridges of white caps and a larger bow wave showing the vessel’s speed. Tyler uses a thicker palette than usual in parts of the sails and throughout the sky to give in more depth.
The ship type comes from the Mediterranean originally, where a brigantino meant a ship with oars and sails owned by a brigand. By the 18th Century it had evolved as a term for the two-masted vessels rig, with the square main sail followed up by the fore-and-aft rig on the mizzen mast. Where the square sails of a true brig could catch a heavier wind, the fore-and-aft rig in combination with the main square sail gave the brigantine greater flexibility of maneuvers while at sea. American mariners took to the coastal rig, and for decades they were the stalwart choice of independent ship owners in various pursuits along the Eastern seaboard.
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