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Willem Van de Velde the Younger

(Dutch 1633–1707)


Oil on Canvas Laid on Panel,
63.5cm x 51.4cm (25in x 20.2in)

Willem van de Velde was the leading Dutch marine painter of the later 17th century. His later paintings shaped the development of seascape painting in England in the 18th century. They are mainly representations of vessels and naval events. He was the son of the painter Willem van de Velde the Elder, and the brother of Adriaen van de Velde, who was a landscape and figure painter. The younger Van de Velde collaborated with his father, an experienced draughtsman, who prepared studies of the battles, events and seascapes in black and white (ink paintings), while the son used oil paints.

In 1672 he moved to England to earn his living. By 1674 he and his father had entered the service of Charles II. He was also patronized by the Duke of York and by various members of the nobility.

The Studio was very much a collaboration space for Willem and his father, where he was responsible for all painting. His younger brother, Adriaen van de Velde, was also involved with the studio. Dr Allison Goudie, Curator of Art at Royal Museums Greenwich, which is an authority on naval art of the period, says “Van de Velde the Elder was a master of detail, whereas Van de Velde the Younger was a master of light”. The artwork also shows striking similarities to the work entitled “Three Ships in a Gale”, at the National Gallery, London.