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

Calm Sea

Oil on canvas, 50 x 66 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Willem van de Velde the Younger is renowned as the greatest marine painter of the Dutch Golden Age. His remarkable skill with the brush, his understanding of light and his profound knowledge of and interest in weather conditions, which he would very often experience first-hand out on the water with pen and paper, breathed life into all of his subjects.

This painting is a youthful work by Willem van de Velde the Younger. The focus of the scene is on two battleships that are flying the Dutch flag, one shown from the side, the other from the stern. The stern shows the image of a brightly-coloured bird rising from the flames. In those days, the carved, painted, and gilded ornaments on ships' stern were references to the name of the vessel, so this frigate must have been the Phoenix, an English warship captured by the Dutch in 1652.