The painting appears to show a merchantman (perhaps of the East India Company) followed by a protective convoy ship riding out a storm. Unlike some of Bakhuizen’s paintings it is probably not meant to be a documentary image of an identifiable ship setting out on a particular voyage. Instead it is a scene depicting stormy marine weather to evoke the fight between man and the elements, a maritime theme especially popular in 17th-century Dutch art.


  • Title: Dutch Merchant - Ships in a Storm
  • Creator: Ludolf Bakhuizen
  • Date Created: 1670s - 1690s
  • tag / style: Marine; Dutch; storm; weather; ship; waves; Ludolf Bakhuizen; merchantman
  • Physical Dimensions: w480 x h395 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: Bakhuizen first attracted artistic attention for his fine handwriting when he joined an Amsterdam trading company as a clerk. He continued to practise calligraphy and etching throughout his life. It wasn’t until his third marriage in 1664 (to Alida Greffet, who ran a silk business) that he described his profession as a painter rather than a calligrapher. From the mid-1660s his fame as a marine specialist began to be established and after the Van de Veldes left for England, in 1672, Bakhuizen became the pre-eminent marine painter in Amsterdam. He received many local and international commissions from patrons such as Tsar Peter the Great, the King of Prussia and the Elector of Saxony.
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Presented by Kenneth Robinson in 1967

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