VROOM, Hendrick Cornelisz.
(b. 1566, Haarlem, d. 1640, Haarlem)
Battle of Gibraltar-
Oil on canvas
Hendrick Vroom has been rightly called the founder of European marine painting. To be sure, artists before Vroom painted marine pictures but Vroom was the first to specialize in this branch of painting. His pictures, which are usually large and depict historical maritime events, were primarily portraits of ships. Subjects that were a stimulus to patriotism as well as historical naval battles were also portrayed. Vroom's most famous representations of the latter are not paintings but a set of ten tapestries he designed that offered vast bird's-eye panoramas of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English Fleet. The set was completed in 1595, and later hung in the old House of Commons until 1834 when it was destroyed with the building by fire. The tapestries are known today from a fine set of eighteenth-century engravings.