Naples with Vesuvius Beyond
Oil on canvas
20 x 25 inches (50.8 x 63.5 cm)
Signed lower left: E.W. Cooke
Edward William Cooke's skill as a draftsman and engraver from an early age led to a long and successful career as a maritime painter, resulting in numerous exhibitions at the British Royal Academy. As a boy in London, he made pencil studies of plants for his father George Cooke's engravings for The Botanical Cabinet (1817-33); at age 14, he drew pictures of ships and their rigging for the marine painter Clarkson Stanfield; and at age 17, he prepared an entire book of etchings, Sixty-five Plates of Shipping and Craft. With Stanfield's encouragement, Cooke took up oil painting and traveled to France, Scandinavia, Holland, Spain, and Egypt in search of scenic coastal views. Especially enamored of the 17th-century Dutch painters Willem van de Velde the Elder and Younger, Cooke developed a style characterized by classical composition, naturalistic detail and yellow light, acquiring him the nickname "Dutch Cooke."
Cooke made two extensive trips to Italy, one between 1845-6, where he completed 90 sketches and oil paintings, and another to Venice in 1850. Naples with Vesuvius Beyond is an exceptional Italian work, showing the brighter and bluer palette that he adopted here, a crystalline light, and an emphasis on ship types, as well as on architectural and landscape elements like the smoking volcano. More than most of his seascapes, Naples with Vesuvius and Beyond reveals his interest in everyday life, in particular, the activities of sailors, soldiers, monks, and women carrying wares along the shore.
Alternate Artist Spellings: "Cooke, Edward", "Cooke, Edward William", "Edward William Cooke"
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