Vitringa studied law, but chose for a career as a marine painter. He was active in Alkmaar, Hoorn and Enkhuizen.
He had probably been a pupil in his native Leeuwarden of the genre scene painter Richard Brakenburgh, which would explain for two different fully signed paintings by him, most probably painted at the very start of his career: our interior scene and an exterior scene from the Frisian Museum of Leeuwarden.
About Wigerus Vitringa
Leeuwarden 1657 – 1725 Wirdum (Leeuwarden)
Marine painter and draughtsman. Lawyer.
Member of an intellectual and artistic family in Leeuwarden, capital of Friesland, the northernmost part of the Netherlands.
Vitringa studied law, but was soon also active as a marine painter.
It is unknown whom he studied with: he might have been a pupil of Richard Brakenburgh (1650 – 1702), in his turn a pupil of Adriaen van Ostade. Brakenburgh moved from Haarlem to Leeuwarden in 1670 and remained here until 1687, before returning to Haarlem.
Because Friesland was too far from the important Dutch towns, which were all in the centre and the South of the country, Vitringa moved to Alkmaar, closer to Amsterdam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen.
He remained in Alkmaar from 1692 (or earlier) until 1706. He was inscribed in the local Painters Guild from 1696 onwards. He was never mentioned here as a lawyer.
There are very few dated paintings and drawings from after 1706, because Vitringa gradually lost sight and had a weak health.
Circa 1708 he returned to Leeuwarden.
Ludolf Backhuysen (1630 – 1708) was the most important marine painter in Holland during the last quarter of the 17th century after Willem van de Velde II left for England in 1673. He exercised a big influence on Vitringa, as he did on so many other marine painters, such as Pieter Coopse, Gerrit Pompe, Jan Rietschoof, Hendrick Dubbels, Aernout Smit and Abraham Storck.
Vitringa might have studied in the workshop of Backhuysen. But as he must have done this at a more mature age, his style remained for a great deal personal, clearly recognizable.
During his stay in Alkmaar Vitringa worked for the Backhuysen workshop; a fair number of his paintings bear the “LB”-monogram. Typical of the Alkmaar years are the strong cast shadows, the division of dark and light waves, and ships crossing each other. Circa 1700 his style became more decorative : he included Italianate motifs, elegant figures in the foreground on the quayside and playful yachts.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because this warm interior scene takes a unique place in Vitringa’s production.