Calm Sea

Object Details

Title:

Calm Sea

Artist/Maker:

Willem van de Velde the Younger (Dutch, 1633 - 1707)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

about 1665–1666

Medium:

Black chalk and gray wash

Object Number:

2002.25

Dimensions:

16.5 × 40.2 cm (6 1/2 × 15 13/16 in.)

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During the Dutch Golden Age, the River Ij provided access to merchant vessels traveling between Amsterdam and the North Sea. In this panoramic view, tall sails and a distant city skyline animate a thin horizon line that separates sky from water. A dark band of wash near the bottom of the page conveys the water's depth and expanse.

The only elements that hint at movement are the ships' billowing sails and a rowboat. Subtle washes of gray evoke a light-filled yet solemn atmosphere and underscore the composition's calmness. Inscriptions along the top and bottom edges of the drawing identify the scene's location along with a few other facts, adding a documentary element to this evocative picture.

Willem van de Velde the Younger followed his artist father's example and specialized in marine scenes like this one. While his father took a meticulous, documentary approach to his subject matter, Van de Velde the Younger developed a more expressive style.

Exhibitions
De Verzameling van A. Schwarz (September to December 1968)
  • Rijksprentenkabinet (Amsterdam), September to December 1968
Recent Acquisitions in Context (July 28 to November 1, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 28 to November 1, 2009
Recent Acquisitions in Context (January 8 to February 24, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 8 to February 24, 2013
Masterful Likeness: Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (July 24 to October 28, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 24 to October 28, 2018
Bibliography

Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London. Catalogue of a Very Choice and Remarkable Collection of Old Master Drawings […]. March 25, 1920, p. 23, lot 79.

Hannema, Dirk. Catalogue of the H. E. ten Cate Collection, 2 vols. (Rotterdam: Ad. Donker, 1955), p. 169, no. 302.

Hannema, Dirk. Catalogue of the H.E. ten Cate Collection, 2 vols. (Rotterdam: Ad. Donker, 1955), vol. 2, unpaginated, fig. 101.

C.G. Boerner, Dusseldorf. 150 Meisterzeichnungen des 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts, eh. cat. (Dusseldorf: C.G. Boerner, 1964), unpaginated, no. 101.

Boon, K.G. De Verzameling van A. Schwarz, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Rijksprentenkabinet, 1968), p. 33, no. 101, fig. 15.

Van de Velde Drawings: A catalogue of drawings in the National Maritime Museum made by the elder and the eounger Willem van de Velde, 2 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1974), vol. 2, p. 121, under no. 915.