Johannes Lingelbach, ‘A Mediterranean port with an elegant couple and travelers resting by the quay’, 1665, Christie's Old Masters

Following in the footsteps of earlier generations of Northern European artists, Lingelbach traveled to Italy and returned home to find success in creating paintings for Dutch connoisseurs that evoked the warmth and exoticism of Italy. Born in Frankfurt am Main, Lingelbach moved with his family to Amsterdam by 1634, training there as an artist before leaving for Paris in 1642 and arriving in Rome two years later. In Rome, he resided on the Strada Paolina delli Greci and later on the Horto di Napoli and joined the city's lively and close-knit community of Northern European artists. Although Pieter van Laer had departed Italy to return North five years earlier, Lingelbach adopted the Bamboccianti scenes that were still highly popular in this milieu. He returned to Amsterdam by 1653, where he continued to produce Italianate scenes. The frequency with which Lingelbach signed and dated works, in contrast to many of his peers, aids in tracing his artistic trajectory. It can be determined, for example, that he painted a scene of the Piazza del Popolo, Rome, now in the Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, in 1664, a year before the present work.

In the 1660s, Lingelbach produced a number of port scenes, including the present one, looking perhaps to the work of Jan Baptist Weenix and his son Jan Weenix. In this painting, the cool tones of the sky and water serve as a hazy backdrop, while a jagged horizon line composed of rocks, stone structures and ships frames the crowded shore. The composition evokes that of a theater stage, fitting for the range of character types occupying the port, which include an aristocratic couple at left, a variety of merchants and sailors, and Turks wearing turbans. This port scene, while a generalized view, is somewhat reminiscent of Livorno, the Medici port city on the west coast of Tuscany. The cylindrical stone building resembles the tower of the Fortezza Vecchia, the 16th-century fortress still situated near the city's port. Lingelbach included the same fountain adorned with a statue of a boy seated on a goose in a 1661 painting of Livorno in a private collection (see L. Harwood, Inspired by Italy: Dutch landscape painting 1600-1700, London, 2002, no. 49).

Signature: Signed and dated 'I: LINGELBACH/1665' (lower right, on the stone.)


Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 5 April 1995, lot 91.

With Noortman Master Paintings, from whom acquired by the present owner.

About Johannes Lingelbach

German, 1622-1674, Frankfurt, Germany, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands