(b. 1630, Emden, d. 1708, Amsterdam)

Ships in Distress in a Raging Storm

c. 1690
Oil on canvas, 150 x 227 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The violence of nature is the main focus of Backhuysen's painting. He concentrated on the high waves lashing against the ships The frigate in the foreground attempts to lower her sails before it is too late. Two masts of the ship on the left have nearly been swept overboard. The wild sea finds its echo in the racing clouds. One cannot be certain these ships will reach the coast safely.

The painter did not paint an actual shipwreck, the painting is an illustration of a severe storm at sea.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.