A warship keels over in the face of an advancing storm, a Dutch flag flying boldly at its mainmast, the arms of the Province of Holland on its stern. The gun ports are open, the cannon out at the ready – probably for practice. A small fishing boat is tossed about on the crest of the wash left behind the warship.
Close to us, the crew of a kaag (a flat-bottomed craft used for inshore journeys) take in the sail to slow it down. The flag at the peak of its sail has faded a little, but it is just possible to make out what appears to be Willem van de Velde the Younger’s signature across the centre.
Willem the Younger painted this exhilarating little picture quite early in his career. It shows the influence of Simon de Vlieger, with whom he may have studied and whose work can also be seen in the National Gallery.
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