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A Ship in a Port with a Ruined Obelisk
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Pierre Puget
French, Marseilles or Toulon, about 1650 - 1655
Pen and black ink and black chalk on vellum
9 15/16 x 13 7/8 in.
2002.1

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Throughout his life, Pierre Puget expressed a fascination with ships and marine life, probably due to the fact that he was born and raised in the French port city of Marseilles. This detailed drawing of ships in a port is no exception. Here, two deckhands struggle to tether a large vessel, using fragments of a ruined pillar nearby. Another ship sits at anchor in the middle distance, and a half-finished hull is dry-docked to the right. Classical ruins incongruously decorate the far and near shores of the inlet.

Puget's tight parallel lines in pen and ink contribute to the illusion of space, with distant details rendered in hazy chalk. Given his background, it is not surprising that Puget designed and carved ship decorations for a living. He lavished attention on these features, especially the statues decorating the upper deck of the ship and its railings.