Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Rowing in Art
It was recently discovered that it represents the arrival of Louis Philippe, King of France, at the Royal Clarence Yard in 1844.
Apparently the light was regarded as too brilliant for dreary old Pompey, and the truth only came out by examining the artist's diaries and sketches. There is, admittedly, very little detail to go on in the picture.
By coincidence I had visited the National Gallery the week before and had a look at the huge Turner depicting Dido building Carthage, and the accompanying work by Claude entitled Seaport with the embarkation of the Queen of Sheba.
Claude's boat is very detailed, being rowed across the water briskly by its crew of seven. Yes, seven. There are four rowers on one side and three on the other. There is no cox and it looks very likely they will hit the boat on the right. And their oars are ridiculously short.