Skip to main content

Claude-Joseph Vernet

Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) was born in Avignon, “where he would have studied works attributed to such 17th-century masters as Claude Lorrain, Gaspard Dughet, and Salvator Rosa” before moving to Rome, where he “was making his reputation as a marine and landscape painter” by 1738. Before Vernet’s return to France in 1753, his marine paintings were “always set on an Italianate coast” and they “fell into two contrasting types: calm and storm.” Immediately upon returning to France, he became a member of the Académie Royale and received a royal commission from Louis XV for a major series on the Ports of France, on which he worked until 1765, returning then to the more universalized maritime paintings that had made him Europe’s leading painter of seascapes and shipwrecks (Conisbee 331-33). His son Carle Vernet and grandson Horace Vernet were to become leading artists during the rule of Napoleon and King Louis Phillippe, respectively.