Frans Post (1612–1680), The Netherlands
View of Frederica City in Paraíba, 1638
Oil on canvas
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Post was the first trained European artist to directly observe and create images of the Americas. He painted northeastern Brazil while working as an expedition artist for Count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604–1679). The Dutch Colony of Frederica City, governed by the count, had recently been established thanks to the Dutch West India Company’s defeat of the Portuguese. Post painted eighteen views during the seven years he spent in Pernambuco, Brazil, and this work, the fourth in the series, pictures a convent that was converted into a fort. Depicting a prominent cluster of trees and animals along the composition’s edge, Post uses the Baroque convention of repoussoir to lead the viewer’s eye into the painting and to create a sense of deep space.