Skip to main content

View of Rouen

Claude de Jongh

(? - 1663) | 955.7

Date : Vers 1620 | Medium : Oil on canvas

This View of Rouen marks a genuine page of the city's history: a precious document dating from around 1620, where a number of buildings threatened with destruction are shown in a small-scale view more or less close to reality. A citizen of Rouen may have commissioned this painting of the city from the Dutch painter Claude de Jongh when he was staying in Rouen, to keep a record of it.

On the hill of Sainte-Catherine at the top right of the picture can be seen the ruins of the fort and abbey destroyed by Henri IV during the siege of Rouen in 1591-1592. Below is the celebrated Mathilde Bridge, built in the 12th century and preserved until the 17th century, up to a very short time after the presumed date of the painting. Another architectural masterpiece since destroyed was the Grand-Pont gate with its two pinnacle turrets. Ultimately, the cathedral on the left of the picture is the only building to have survived intact.

Lastly, in the centre, we see the old Clos-des-Galées: the galley port. Galleys were low-built, light, slender ships for trade or war, designed to travel quickly under oar- or sail-power. The term is actually rather inaccurate to describe the ships of the time with their various forms and equipment, such as brigantines, fustas, tarides and ussiers.