Tag Archives: shipwrecks

#FineArtFriday: Accident at the Old Pier, by Andreas Achenbach 1863

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Artist: Andreas Achenbach  (1815–1910)

Title: Westphalian Watermill

Genre: landscape art

Date: 1863

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: Height: 92.5 cm (36.4 in) Width: 70.8 cm (27.8 in)

Collection: Kunsthalle Bremen 

Object history: 1865: purchased by Kunsthalle Bremen

Inscriptions: Signature and date bottom left: A. Achenbach 1863

What I love about this painting:

The scene depicted here is both historical, and current. It is a scene that plays out in our modern world in the same way as it did in 1863.

No matter what part of the world you live, anyone who lives near the sea will recognize the style of the rickety, weathered pier. Storms and saltwater wreak their will on both the wooden docks and the hubris of those who think to conquer the waves. Wood is no match for the storm; we fish and travel the waters at the mercy of the weather, and if the wind is wrong, approaching the dock can be dicey.

Along the pier, men work to keep the boat from crashing. A ship of that size would take out at least a section of the dock, if not the whole dock.

To this day, there is only one way to fend a boat away from a bad docking if they are at the mercy of the storm, and that is what we see here. Dockworkers push the vessel with poles to hold it off, hoping to reduce its momentum. A timber floats in the waves, as the boat has struck the pier at least once with the full force of the gale winds.

For the crew, disembarking will be a challenge. Should these sailors remain on board or try to jump onto the pier, risking being crushed between the rolling, lurching ship and the waves?

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Andreas Achenbach (29 September 1815, Kassel – 1 April 1910, Düsseldorf) was a German landscape and seascape painter in the Romantic style. He is considered to be one of the founders of the Düsseldorf School. His brother, Oswald, was also a well known landscape painter. Together, based on their initials, they were known as the “Alpha and Omega” of landscape painters. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Achenbach Havarie am alten Pier@Albert König Museum20160904.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Achenbach_Havarie_am_alten_Pier@Albert_K%C3%B6nig_Museum20160904.jpg&oldid=526736266 (accessed August 19, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Andreas Achenbach,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Andreas_Achenbach&oldid=1037476363 (accessed August 19, 2021).

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