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Essay – Willem van de Velde I – The HMS York

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Essay - Willem van de Velde I - The HMS York

Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son and pupil Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633 – 1707) are the most famous marine artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Willem van de Velde the Elder is primarily known as a draughtsman. He made quick sketches on the spot and worked-out drawings in ink and wash on parchment, panel and canvas, which he sold as independent works of art.

Paintings by Willem van de Velde the Elder are a rarity. Robinson records only eight paintings as securely autograph by Van de Velde the Elder, e.g. which are entirely or substantially by his hand. The present unpublished painting was not included but in a letter Robinson endorses the attribution and dates it to around 1681.

Van de Velde the Elder became enormously successful and frequently received commissions from abroad. His works were sold to Italy, France, Sweden and England. In 1661 Van de Velde the Elder visited England and by the closing of 1672 he had left with his son for England for good.