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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Seascape” by Arnoldus van Anthonissen

"Seascape" by Arnoldus van Anthonissen - Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

“Seascape” by Arnoldus van Anthonissen

“Seascape” by Arnoldus van Anthonissen depicts a three-masted battleship navigating through stormy waters out to sea. The fishing boat in front forms a counterbalance to the inclination of the mast and sail. The red colour highlights of the clothing of the figures in the rowboat standout in the grey of the sky and sea. The signature “AA” can be found on the wooden pole that sticks mysteriously out of the waves, on the bottom right.

Dutch Golden Age

Dutch Golden Age painting led in developing the subjects of still life, landscape, seascapes and genre painting. Portraiture was also popular, but history paintings struggled to find buyers. Church art was almost non-existent, and little sculpture of any kind was produced. The growing number of wealthy Dutch middle-class and prosperous mercantile patrons was the driving forces in the popularity of certain pictorial subjects. Seascapes reflected the sources of trade and naval power that mark the Republic’s Golden Age.

The secret to the Dutch Maritime Strenght

In the 17th century, the Dutch who were traditionally able seafarers and keen mapmakers began a growing trade with the Far East and gained an increasingly dominant position in world trade, a position previously occupied by the Portuguese and Spanish.

In 1602, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was founded. It was the first-ever multinational corporation, financed by shares that established the first modern stock exchange. The Company received a Dutch monopoly on Asian trade, and it became the world’s largest commercial enterprise of the 17th century. Spices were imported in bulk and brought huge profits due to the risks involved and the insatiable demand.

The primary source of wealth for the Republic was in fact its trade with the Baltic states and Poland. The Dutch imported enormous amounts of bulk resources like grain and wood, stockpiling them in Amsterdam so Holland would never lack for basic goods, as well as being able sell them on for profit to countries that did not stockpile and faced a crisis.

Arnoldus van Anthonissen

Arnoldus van Anthonissen (1631 – 1703) was a Dutch Golden Age marine painter. In 1663, he moved to Zierikzee and became a member of the Guild of St. Luke in Middelburg during 1665-1669. He is known for seascapes and maps. Anthonissen also worked as a house and marble painter and art dealer.

Reflections

  • Did this battleship support the world’s first-ever multinational corporation?
  • Did the taxes that fund this ship come from the first modern stock exchange?

Seascape

  • Title:              Seascape
  • Artist:            Arnoldus van Anthonissen
  • Date:            1660-1670
  • Medium:       oil on Oakwood
  • Type:             History Painting
  • Dimensions:  33 x 65 cm
  • Acquired:      1874
  • Museum:      Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Arnoldus van Anthonissen

  • Artist:           Arnoldus van Anthonissen
  • Born:            1631, Amsterdam
  • Died:            1703, Zierikzee, Netherlands
  • Nationality:   Dutch
  • Notable Works:

Explore Berlin’s Museums

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“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.”
– Kate Chopin

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Photo Credit:  JOM

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