In the 17th century, a lively market for paintings of sea scenes emerged in the Netherlands.
The maritime industry had become a major driver of the economy, in addition to being a source of national pride. People wanted to be reminded of the ships, the ports, the sea battles, the heroism and the storms, even in their own homes. The painters and artists of the time gave them what they wanted. The best pieces by the best painters of the day were sold for obscene amounts of money.
Even the very earliest maritime masters had a unique style, experimenting with composition, perspective and the interplay of colour. As time passed, seascape painters were also influenced by new movements in the art of painting, such as romanticism and impressionism. Favourite themes included man's insignificance versus the mysterious power and beauty of nature. After 1900, seascape painters were no longer at the cutting edge of the art of painting as they had been in ages past, but demand for their work remained high.
The collection on display in The National Maritime Museum is of world-class quality and shows you how surprisingly rich the tradition of 'Holland's glory' truly is.