Salomon van Ruysdael developed the new landscape picture without mythological or historical scenes, focusing instead on light, space and evocative atmosphere.
This picture is a companion piece to his Seascape with Sailing Boat on the Left. Laden with freight and passengers, rowing-boats and "smalshipe" in full sail are crossing a canal. Ruysdael captures the atmosphere of the damp sea air by using muted shades of grey and blue, brightened and animated with white, rather in the style of monochrome mood painting. Ruysdael avoids dramatic scenes and violent natural spectacles. His well-balanced compositions of sea and lake views, expressing a peaceful clarity, cannot be classed as marine painting.