A Brisk Breeze

Willem van de Velde the Youngerc.1665

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Willem van de Velde trained under his father, a marine painter of the same name. The two artists dominated the seascape tradition and became famous for their accurate representation of ships.

There are a number of different boats here, including a kaag in the foreground, a small fishing boat designed to navigate inland waterways. This and the warships in the distance remind viewers of the Netherlands' power at sea, both in trade and in battle. The Dutch flag flies prominently atop many of the masts.

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  • Title: A Brisk Breeze
  • Date: c.1665
  • Physical Dimensions: w650 x h521 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: Dated by Robinson c.1665.Not in GPI.Engraved by Cockburn.Has Bourgeois' seal, which suggests it was purchased by him rather than Desenfans.Smith said the picture was called 'A View off the Texel'.Not London, Skinner and Dyke, Noel Desenfans sale, 18 Mar. 1802, lot 154 ('W. Vanderveldt Ð A large Sea Piece [This ... offers us a view of the sea, in a brisk gale, with a variety of shipping]'): RKD version of catalogue has following annotation '65.' [i.e. 6 x 5]. Size doesn't match. Also cannot be lot 70 as the description doesn't match: 'Two Sea Pieces [small ... One of these, is a sea view, in a perfect calm, in which some frigates and other vessels, are finely contrasted with a brilliant silvery sky. The other represents a storm, where the restless billows are beating a ship against a rock, with destructive violence; a lowering sky adds to the horror of the scene]'.
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Inscriptions: Signed on floating plank, lower left:WVV.
  • Further Information: "To the centre left of the scene a kaag, a boat designed to carry cargo on inland waterways, is shown in starboard bow view. She is running before the wind, and in the bow a sailor is hauling down the foresail, while her sprit-sail is already half lowered and her sprit is horizontal in the slings. Behind her to the right and nearly parallel is a smalschip, a ‘narrow ship’ able to negotiate locks on inland waterways, head turned into the wind. In the background at the extreme left is a third ship, a hoeker, a type of fishing vessel. Various warships can be seen in the distance. The picture was likely made in Leiden around 1665, a few years before Van de Velde left the Netherlands for London in 1672. Van de Velde II was the son of marine painter Willem van de Velde I, with whom he collaborated with on many works. A Brisk Breeze demonstrates the influence of his father’s precise drawings and paintings of ships and marine scenes. The sharp contrast between the blue sky and the ominous dark clouds approaching to the left creates a poignant contrast between the controlled nature of Van de Velde’s brushstrokes and the rough sea he depicts. "
  • Artist: van de Velde, Willem the younger
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)


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