First retrospective exhibition of Van de Velde marine artists

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AMSTERDAM, Aug. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) is organising an exhibition of the artists Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son Willem van de Velde the Younger. Willem the Elder and Younger belong to the crème de la crème of 17th-century marine painting. The exhibition Willem van de Velde & Son (on show 1 October 2021 until 27 March 2022) explores the Van de Velde family business, their eye for detail and atmosphere, their extraordinary skill and Van de Velde the Elder's role as a 'war correspondent'. The works on display range from rough pencil sketches to meticulously drawn pen paintings, and from dramatic scenes of storms and naval battles and soothing ship portraits to two recently acquired monumental tapestries. The National Maritime Museum has never before brought together so many objects by both artists from its own rich collection and loans.

Father and son both had their own specialism: Willem the Elder excelled in extremely detailed drawings; his son in atmospheric oil paintings. Their entrepreneurial spirit even secured the Van de Veldes an international audience: they worked for admirals, princes and kings. When the Dutch art market collapsed in the so-called Disaster Year of 1672, father and son accepted an existing invitation from the English king Charles II to work at his court. The Van de Veldes took up residence in a studio at the royal palace in Greenwich. In England too, they experienced extraordinary success.

War 'correspondent'

Willem van de Velde the Elder was often personally present during the great naval battles. A sailing boat (a 'galliot') was made available to him, and he was ferried between the enormous war ships. He sketched the hostilities on paper, adding annotations so that he could later work out these sketches in detail in his studio.

Unprecedented Productivity

The Van de Velde's painting studio existed for over seventy years. Their productivity during this period was unprecedented: they are estimated to have produced more than 2500 drawings and 800 paintings. Today their works of art can be found in every major art and maritime museum around the world. Their work inspired many generations of Dutch, British and French marine artists who came after them.

For more information, read more on exhibition - expected: Willem van de Velde, father and son (

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