Sailing ship, 1859
The luminosity of the painting shows the typical handwriting of Anton Melbye: The colouring of the work is cool and conveys an impression of low temperatures. On the left edge of the picture, the foothills of a low-pressure area are still visible. At its back there is a clear, wide view. The cloud formation is also characteristic of this weather phenomenon. Strong winds are blowing onshore against a rocky cliff in front of which a sailing ship is pushing through the agitated sea not too far away. The Danish brig is sailing high on the wind. It is bathed in a mild light, appears three-dimensional, all details are recognisable.
Among his contemporaries, Anton Melbye is already regarded as a famous marine painter who earns his reputation through the combination of high emotionality and marine-technically correct depiction. The fidelity to nature and sensitive nuance of the colours make his works the exceptionally popular seascapes to this day. An eye defect prevents Anton Melbye from going to sea, and so he first learns shipbuilding at the construction school in Nyholm. In 1838 he attends the Copenhagen Academy. The Danish royal house grants him permission to accompany Danish naval ships on their voyages, among others to Morocco and Italy. An important station in his career is Hamburg, where he makes numerous studies of ships and shipyards. During this time he lives in Altona near Hamburg. While he lives in Denmark, King Christian VIII is one of his patrons. In 1847 Melbye settles in Paris. Here, too, he has influential patrons: first King Louis Philippe, later Emperor Napoleon III. Anton Melbye dies in Paris in 1875.