VROOM, Hendrick Cornelisz.
(b. 1566, Haarlem, d. 1640, Haarlem)
Dutch painter and draughtsman, part of a family of artists. Cornelis Hendricksz. Vroom the Elder was a sculptor and ceramic artist, and his brother Frederick Vroom I (d. 1593) was city architect in Danzig (now Gdansk). Cornelis's son Hendrick Vroom initiated the Dutch 17th-century tradition of marine painting. His three sons - Cornelis Vroom the Younger, Frederick Vroom II (1600-1667) and Jacob Vroom I - all became painters, as did his grandson Jacob Vroom II (d. 1700), the son of Cornelis Vroom.
Hendrick Vroom was one of the founders of Dutch marine painting. He travelled a great deal (and became very rich) in Spain and Italy. After working for ecclesiastical patrons in Florence and Rome, he was employed for at least two years (c. 1585–87) by Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici, who in October 1587 succeeded Francesco I as Grand Duke of Tuscany. Ferdinando's keen interest in ships and the navy seems to have been a determining factor in Vroom's choice of subject-matter. According to Lanzi, he was known in Rome as 'Lo Spagnolo' (since he had arrived there from Spain). Among his earliest works may be a group of marine paintings attributed to him (Rome, Villa Colonna). His friendship in Rome with Paul Bril, mentioned by van Mander, had no effect on Hendrick's painting style, but Bril's influence is discernible in a group of landscape drawings. When returning to Haarlem he was shipwrecked off the coast of Portugal (c. 1590). The local inhabitants suffered much from English pirates and Vroom's life was in danger, until he showed his ability as an artist; whereupon it was decided that he was "not an Englishman, but a Christian".