Shipwreck on a Rocky Coast

Bonaventura Peeters, Flemish (active Antwerp), 1614 - 1652

Made in Southern Netherlands (modern Belgium), Europe

c. 1640

Oil on panel

18 13/16 x 28 5/8 inches (47.8 x 72.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Director's Discretionary Fund, 1970

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Fear of the sea and the horrors awaiting mariners at the far end of the world inspired a new genre of “tempest” painting in the seventeenth century. Bonaventura Peeters never saw the coast of Brazil, but he used other travelers’ accounts to imagine a terrifying fantasy of rocky cliffs and hostile natives. The power of the storm and the helplessness of the doll-like ship convey a sense of human weakness in the face of chaotic, unknowable forces.


With Kunsthandel AG, Lucerne, as of 1965; sold to Julius Böhler (dealer), Munich, September 14, 1965 [1]; sold to PMA, January 7, 1970 [2]. 1. Letter from Jutta Fianke, Julius Böhler Kunsthandlung, May 30, 2006 (curatorial file). 2. Copy of dated receipt in curatorial file.