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A Dutch Ship coming to Anchor
Willem van de Velde
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A merchant ship, probably an Indiaman, comes to anchor. After a long and dangerous journey, perhaps to the Far East or the West Indies, the white sails are being lowered one by one. The flag on the foremast suggests that this is the vessel of the vice admiral of a small fleet. The crew is busy and vessels gather on either side of the ship to take its cargo ashore.

More small boats on the left sail towards the Indiaman, making slow, stately progress in the light breeze. This was a time when everything important to Holland – shipping, fishing, trade, agriculture – was dependent on the weather. Perhaps only painting could continue undisturbed by calm or storm in the multitude of artists’ studios scattered throughout the land. Marine and landscape works like Willem van de Velde’s were sketched in drawings made outdoors, but finished paintings were made inside.

Key facts
Artist Willem van de Velde
Artist dates 1633 - 1707
Full title Calm: A Dutch Ship coming to Anchor and Another under Sail
Date made 1657
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 55 x 62 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG870
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings after 1600
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