These full-bodied luggers working in the Netherlands fishing fleets are at various stages of their daily activities. Rolling out against the surf line, two drive over the wave crests just beyond a jetty remnant. Another holds its position and attends its tasks with a bare corner of sail employed. It is a small scale work with tight detail, which is a format the artist favored late in his career, but it still shows many ships at sail.
Typically Dutch in influence, conception and execution, his paintings often reinforce the belief of many that the English-born hulk was a Dutch artist. His accomplished use of color and light mixed with heavy shadow achieves the delicate glowing atmosphere present, with the sun cloud-shrouded yet sending spikes of subtle rays of light downward. Painted sea birds glide between the ships, and the muted reflective quality of his water is beheld only on the surface of the deepest tones of the coastal water.
Hulk’s accurate and careful delineation of the Dutch fishing vessels and the observant portrayal of the fishermen on board compliment the vast distance he composed for this diminutive oil painting. His views of the natural environment became his foremost subjects, and while they often possess compositions of human endeavors, they celebrate the primal forces of wind, sun, sea and wave. This work is a quality look at the undeniable skills of a master sea painter.
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