Where Promoting And Encouraging The Arts Is A Way Of Life
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Historic Boston Light by Maritime Master Maarten Platje
Maarten Platje (Dutch, b. 1967) The Annie Johnson at Boston Light, 2016 oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 35 3/8 in.
Maarten Platje was born in 1967 and raised in the famous port city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where he still lives and works today. Platje studied at the Ars Aemula Naturae Art Academy in Leiden where he was able to hone his technical skills as a draftsman and painter. Prior to his artistic studies, Platje spent much of his youth as a sailor, a period that certainly contributed to his ability to transform his impressions and observations into highly accurate and lively marine paintings later in life. In 1996 Platje was invited by the Royal Dutch Navy to embark on a frigate during NATO operations in the Mediterranean waters around the former Yugoslavia. During this voyage, he followed in the steps of the famous Dutch marine painter Willem van de Velde (1611-1693), the official artist for the Dutch Fleet in his time. This resulted in a series of paintings illustrating various naval operations which are now on a permanent display at the Naval Museum in Den Helder and at the Museum of the Marine Corps of the Royal Netherlands Navy in Rotterdam. Platje’s current body of work focuses on accurate recreations of historically important ships and regatta’s from the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Platje achieves remarkable detail in his painting, The Annie Johnson at Boston Light (2016), with his signature style of capturing the light reflected off the waves combined with dramatic, almost haunting, shadows in their natural conditions. It is apparent that he possesses an unparalleled ability in portraying the atmospheric interplay between sky, sea, and shore. The painting depicts the iron barque Annie Johnson passing Boston Light on Little Brewster Island (Massachusetts). In 1872, R. Williamson at Harrington built Ada Iredale, which would become the Annie Johnson. Her history was a tumultuous one—a fire resulted in her being abandoned by her crew, and the Ada Iredlae drifted westward for eight months before being taken in tow by a French cruiser and taken to Papeete, Tahiti, with her cargo still smoldering. She was sold to American owners in 1878, the fire having stayed alight in her hull until May of that year.
The Ada Iredale was rebuilt and rechristened the Annie Johnson; triumphantly sailing out of San Francisco. She had a diesel engine fitted in 1923 and would serve for four years as a merchant ship before moving to her next life as the French Ship, Bretagne. The present painting shows the fully-riggedAnnie Johnson in her heyday passing one of the most famous monuments in the rich history of American shipping: Boston Light. Boston Light is a lighthouse located in outer Boston Harbor. The first lighthouse built on the site dates back to 1716—the first lighthouse ever built in what is now the United States. The current lighthouse dates from 1783 and is the second-oldest working lighthouse in the United States after New Jersey’s Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Boston Light received National History Landmark status in 1964.