Skip to main content
Boats pulling out to a Yacht in a Calm
Willem van de Velde

During the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic was frequently at war, often with England. It’s possible that this is a picture of a fleet preparing for battle.

The sea is quiet, but there is a sense of urgency in the scene. A crowd of small boats pull out from the shore, the men rowing powerfully as if in a hurry. Others thrust out eager hands towards puffs of smoke from the cannon of two vessels firing a salute – the Statenjacht (state yacht) with the tall sails and the Admiral’s flagship to which it travels. The Statenjacht transported members of the government or visiting dignitaries to visit the Admiral before setting sail, and flies the ensign of the States General. Beyond, more warships gather, appearing little more than shadows on the horizon but adding to the impression of a busy seaway even in a calm.

Key facts
Artist Willem van de Velde
Artist dates 1633 - 1707
Full title Boats pulling out to a Yacht in a Calm
Date made about 1665
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 43 x 50.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number NG980
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo