The Whale-oil Refinery near the Village of Smerenburg, Cornelis de Man, 1639
Smerenburg on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen was a settlement of Dutch whalers. The painter was never there, but constructed a hotchpotch of drawn and painted motifs that he knew. On the beach whale blubber is being carved into small pieces and boiled. The rendered fat was poured into wooden trays, purified, and the resulting oil stored in barrels. The men’s barracks can be seen in the right background.