A red chalk drawing of Dutch boats and ships at sea. This drawing was orginally assigned to Willem van de Velde, due to the signiture in the lower left corner, but The British Museum has since attributed it to a later Dutch marine artist, Adam Silo (1674 to 1760).
SignificanceHolland has a strong maritime history, particulary exploration and trade by the Dutch East India Company in the Asian region during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was an age of great discoveries and voyages and Dutch art reflected that.
HistoryPaintings of ships and the ocean were an incredibly popular topic in Dutch art during the 16th and 17th Century. Known as the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, the era celebrated not only the skill of Dutch artists but also the Dutch dominance over the sea and trade.
Dutch ships explored the globe and commercially their sucess was unrivalled with the establishment and growth of the Dutch East Indies Company. Dutch marine art covered all aspects of life on the sea - military, commercial and quiet scenes on rivers or trade on the canal. Overwhelmingly the intestst was on the ships and boats and the conditions or weather they faced. Highly dramatic scenes of ships in turmoil or in battle were common as were tranquil scenes at sunset or sunrise. Scenery over people was the norm.
Adam Silo, to whom this drawing is now attributed, was a specialist maritime painter who it is suggested had a life at sea prior to taking up painting.