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Studio of Willem van de Velde, Calm: Two Dutch Vessels

Key facts
Full title Calm: Two Dutch Vessels
Artist Studio of Willem van de Velde
Artist dates 1633 - 1707
Date made probably after 1670
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 20.9 × 27.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Farnborough, 1838
Inventory number NG149
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Calm: Two Dutch Vessels
Studio of Willem van de Velde

The low horizon gives a vast sky – very much how a sailor in a small boat at sea experiences the world. But the men working on the vessels seem unconcerned with the view: these are inshore working craft.

In the centre is a smalschip, a transport vessel carrying a Dutch ensign. Beached on the spit of sand on the right is a weyschuit, a small open boat used for ferrying goods and people to bigger boats further out. The only man not involved in the on board tasks surveys not the view, but the huge warship a little way out, its sails rigged ready for going to sea.

This picture was painted in the studio of Willem van de Velde and was possibly the work of one of his assistants, not the artist himself. It’s also possible that it is a late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century copy.

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