Figures on Board Small Merchant Vessels

Object Details

Title:

Figures on Board Small Merchant Vessels

Artist/Maker(s):

Willem van de Velde the Elder (Dutch, 1611 - 1693)

Culture:

Dutch

Place(s):

Holland (Place created)

Date:

about 1650 - 1655

Medium:

Pen and brown ink and blue-grey wash over leadpoint, incised for transfer

Dimensions:

21 x 32.2 cm (8 1/4 x 12 11/16 in.)

See more

See less

In this harbor scene, small craft loaded with barrels of supplies hover around a large vessel as men lift various goods on board. Using ropes, four men try to prepare a load to be taken onto the ship. Three men in broad-brimmed hats stand supervising on the left, while other sailors await the goods or attend to other vessels.

Using brown ink, Willem van de Velde the Elder outlined the boats and gave definition to ropes and shipping tackle. In contrast, he used a blue-gray wash to give volume and depth, using only a few simple strokes to suggest the folds of the sails. Building up the human figures by blending wash and ink, he made quick, sure lines that evoke each gesture and costume without many specific details. As the official artist for the Dutch fleet for many years, van de Velde often recorded such scenes of the bustling activity of marine life. Someone extensively incised the drawing for transfer, even down to the fine details, but no related copy is known today.

Exhibitions
17th Century Dutch Drawings (July 21 to October 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 21 to October 4, 1992, (Cat.)
Dutch Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (August 16 to October 23, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 16 to October 23, 1994, (Cat.)
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998, (Cat.)
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001, (Cat.)
Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (May 28 to August 25, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 25, 2002, (Cat.)
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, (Cat.)