There are only three signed paintings known by Johannes Sturckenburgh, who grew up in Wesel, in Germany, close to the Dutch border. This is the best of these three paintings. Sturckenburgh lived and worked in Amsterdam. He was the father of two famous late 17th century Dutch painters: Abraham and Jacobus Storck. Our painting shows the influence that his sons underwent, probably sharing a family workshop with their father at their young age.
Our composition is a completely fictitious, personal view of an Italianate harbour, based on oral descriptions and on prints.
About Johannes Sturckenburgh
Dutch painter of German origin
Wesel 1603 – 1664/1683 place unknown (Amsterdam?)
Also known as Jan Jansen Sturck.
Rare marine painter. There are just three signed paintings known by him.
There is almost no biographical information about our painter. And what is known is not very positive:
- in 1663 the burgomaster of Amsterdam has criticised him for beating his second wife, whom no long before he got married with.
- In 1664 Johanna van Os, his second wife, had called him a womanizer.
Sturckenburgh was born in Wesel, a German town in North Rhine Westphalia along the Rhine, very close to the Dutch border. It is not known whom he studied painting with. At the age of 25, in 1628, he got married in Amsterdam, where apparently he spent the rest of his career.
He was the father of Johannes, Jacobus and Abraham Storck.
- There are just two signed paintings known by the eldest son, Johannes (II) (1629/30 -1673).
- Abraham Storck (1644 – 1708), the youngest, was the best known of the three brothers.
- Abraham and his elder brother Jacobus (1641 – after 1692) were versatile artists, renowned for their marine paintings, topographical views and fictitious Italianate harbour scenes.
Until 1644, when his youngest son, Abraham, was born, Johannes still called himself Sturck, but in 1662, when he got married for the second time, he called himself Jo(h)annes Sturckenburgh, which is also the name that he signed our painting with. In 1973, when Laurens J. Bol, wrote his standard work “Die Holländische Marinemalerei des 17. Jahrhunderts” there were no signed works yet known by our painter.
About our painting
There are only three signed paintings known by Johannes Sturckenburgh: a view of Bonn along the River Rhine and two Italianate harbour scenes (ours and one sold at Sotheby’s in London in 1983).
Johannes has clearly influenced all three of his sons stylistically and in the choice of their subjects, as you may see in our comparative works.
The two Mediterranean harbour scenes of our painter and all those of his two best-known sons, Jacobus and Abraham, never represent exact topographical views of one particular place. These are fictitious, rather theatrical stage sets forming the backdrop to a hive of activity. All three of them filled these views with imaginary buildings, sometimes incorporating existing, realistic elements. Nor Johannes Sturckenburgh, nor his sons are known to have travelled to Italy; they must have relied on their imagination and on prints to create views of their Italy.
In their puzzle-like compositions these imagined harbour scenes must be considered precursors of the great “capricci” painters of the Italian 18th century, such as of Giovanni Paolo Panini.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it sums up the image that flabbergasted foreigners had from Italy during the third quarter of the 17th century: a mountainous coastline (Liguria?), the strangest art and architecture, a busy economy, well-dressed people and exotic Oriental tradesmen.