1714-1789 A Seaport at Sunset 1749 Oil on canvas 44-7/8 x 64-5/8 in.
Vernet, a native of Avignon, went to Rome in 1734 and over the next decade established himself in Italy as a painter of real and imaginary landscapes based on the local countryside and seacoast.
In this painting, the artist depicts an idealized Mediterranean seaport, rather than a specific location, and uses a variety of features from the region. The lighthouse is from Naples, whereas the mountains behind it are unlike any in the vicinity of Naples. At the far right is the Arch of Constantine, which is from Rome. The lateen-rigged ship on the right is a type common to the eastern Mediterranean. The large warship is firing a salute and the nearby ships fly the Dutch flag, indicating that the painting may have been commissioned by a Dutch client.