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ANTONIO VERRIO (C. 1639-1707)

The Sea Triumph of Charles II


RCIN 406173

This was probably the first work painted by Verrio for Charles II. The subject may have been inspired to some extent by the signing, on 9 February 1674, of the Treaty of Westminster, which brought to an end the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The portrait of the King does not seem to be taken from life and was probably worked up by Verrio from a miniature by Samuel Cooper. It is possible that the design was painted as a trial piece, before Verrio had seen his new patron, to give him an idea of his abilities. The Fleet in the background may have been painted by another hand.

The King, wearing classical armour, is driven through the water by Neptune in a high, shell-backed chariot. He is accompanied by three female figures carrying crowns and embodying his three kingdoms. Above his head Fame holds a scroll inscribed IMPERIVM OCEANO FAMAM QVI TERMINET ASTRIS. Time and a female figure hold a wreath and a helmet above his head. In the sky Envy is struck by lightening and chased by putti with the attributes of Peace and Love, and two more putti carry the royal arms on a shield. Beyond are Minerva and Venus (?) looking down on the British fleet.

Signed: Antonius Verrio / Neapolitanus f.[Antonio Verrio from Naples did this]

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