Jan Karel Donatus van Beecq (1638-1722) was born in Amsterdam and it was probably there that he did his apprenticeship. From his known paintings we can conclude that he was an accomplished marine painter in 1677, and active in London considering the many English flags in his paintings. Most probably he worked at the busy workshop of Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1707) and his father in Greenwich at the time. In 1681 he shows up in Paris where he is admitted to the Academy. From 1684 and onwards he received Royal commissions which he signed with PRC (Pro Rege Christianissimo). In Paris he was living in the palace of Philippe, Duc de Vendôme. He was known as the French Van de Velde until he returned in Amsterdam in 1714. He was quite popular in France because he was the only one who excelled in marine paintings. This painting depicting herring fisherman is probably situated near Spitsbergen and is a typical representation of his work. In the foreground the full fishing nets are brought in. In the background floats a warship.
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