VELDE, Willem van de, the Younger
(b. 1633, Leiden, d. 1707, London)

The "Gouden Leeuw" before Amsterdam

Oil on canvas, 180 x 316 cm
Historisch Museum, Amsterdam

Seventeenth-century pictures defined the Dutch scene not only in terms of shared history but also as a site of productivity. While landscapes, city scenes, and animal paintings advertised the ingenious foundations of Dutch economic success, other genres - marine painting foremost - acknowledged its more significant basis in overseas trade and colonial ventures. Although many seascapes were available cheaply, the best marine painters were among the most highly rewarded artists. The States-General, city governments, and trading companies commissioned views of the Dutch naval and trading fleets, before a prosperous harbour, in battle, or at sea. The marine specialist Willem van de Velde II painted the heroic vessel Gouden Leeuw in the bustle of Amsterdam harbour.