Haarlem, city on the River Spaarne. This, at first sight, is what this painting is about. In the foreground the busy river, beyond it the walled city with the great Church of St Bavo in the centre and numerous other recognizable churches, monasteries and buildings. But the painting has another subject, too: the Haarlem brewer and burgomaster Johan Claesz Loo (c.1580-1660). He stands, swathed in an orange sash, in the bow of the sailing ship. His family coat of arms, a chevron and three fleurs-de-lis, can be seen on the small pennant flying at the stern. The masts of this vessel and of the small boat on the left, laden with barrels of beer, are both topped with a fleur-de-lis: this second vessel therefore also belonged to Loo. In other words this painting, which he probably commissioned himself, is also a portrait of Loo, posing in front of his beloved city. Jacob Matham immortalized this same Loo and his possessions in a pen painting.