Maritime Painting Ahoy!

Lying strategically on Europe’s principal waterways, Holland experienced unprecedented economic growth in the seventeenth century. By mid-century Dutch ships carried more tonnage than all the vessels of the other nations put together. It was only natural, therefore, that painters began specializing in nautical themes. Willem van de Velde the Elder, like his predecessor Hendrick Vroom, painted to tell a story. Others, such as Jan Porcellis, Simon de Vlieger, Jan van de Cappelle, Willem van de Velde the Younger and Ludolf Bakhuysen, concentrated more on atmosphere in their maritime paintings. Then, as now, their works enjoyed tremendous popularity among collectors.

Works by these artists are on show from 21 December 1996 to 23 February 1997 at Rotterdam’s Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum as part of the largest exhibition of maritime art ever held in Holland. With over a hundred paintings, Praise of Ships and the Sea promises to be a magnificent exhibition displaying the full variety and quality of Dutch maritime art. Among the works displayed are delightful rivers scenes, some showing fishermen, local skippers or ferrymen. Others depict estuaries with hardly any land in sight, seascapes with ships in stormy waters, or naval battles. Naturally, in the latter the Dutch generally emerged victorious. To put this rather biased view into perspective, the actual facts of the Republic’s naval history will also be revealed.
In February 1997 this major exhibition will move to the famous Altes Museum in Berlin.

Journal 1 Afb.1Drs Jeroen Giltay, curator of Rotterdam’s Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, at the Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder gallery examining a selection of paintings for the exhibition Praise of Ships and the Sea.(Boats on the IJ, Celebrating the Visit of Tsar Peter the Great to Holland), Abraham van Beyeren (Ships on a Choppy Sea, bottom left) and Jacob Bellevois (Ships in Distress, right).

Praise of Ships and the Sea – Dutch Maritime Painting in the Seventeenth Century, 21 December 1996 to 23 February 1997, Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Museumpark 18-20, Rotterdam, open Tuesday to Saturday 10-17.00, Sundays and public holidays 11-17.00, closed 25 December and 1 January.

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