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Willem van de Velde the Younger


Dutch, Baroque Painter of the Golden Age

Stylistically influenced by the following painters -Frans Hals, Willem van de Velde I and  Jan Havickszoon Steen

Education - apprenticed to Allart van Everdingen and was a studio assistant to  Hendrik Dubbels

Cause of Death - Fever


Willem van de Velde the Younger was born into a family of painters, engravers and musicians. His father, Willem van de Velde I,  was an accomplished painter and inspired composer. Young Willem was encouraged to go down to the docks and sketch the harbor ships. His studies of various seagoing vessels, created a foundation for all his later artistic accomplishments. He sketched with breathtaking talent even at a very young age.  His father and uncles loved the sea and often rented a small boat for leisurely days of fishing and sketching around the local harbor.

 While still in his 20s Willem van de Velde the Younger found great financial and critical success as a painter. Many of his greatest works were acquired by English nobility and the wealthy merchant class. Prosperous ship captains often commissioned portraits of their favorite ships. According to Art Historian S. Spooner  "Like his father, the younger Van de Velde designed everything from nature, and his compositions are distinguished by a more elegant and tasteful arrangement of his objects, than is to be found in the productions of any other painter of marines. His vessels are designed with the greatest accuracy, and from the improvements which had been made in ship-building, they are of a more graceful and pleasing form than those of his predecessors; the cordage and rigging are finished with a delicacy, and at the same time with a freedom almost without example; his small figures are drawn with remarkable correctness, and touched with the greatest spirit. In his calms the sky is sunny, and brilliant, and every object is reflected in the glassy smoothness of the water, with a luminous transparency peculiar to himself. In his fresh breezes and squalls, the swell and curl of the waves is delineated with a truth and fidelity which could only be derived from the most attentive and accurate study of nature; in his storms, tempests, and hurricanes, the tremendous conflict of the elements and the horrors of shipwreck are represented with a truthfulness that strikes the beholder with terror.. "

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Dutch, Golden Age rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  Baroque Painting, spiritually significant, economic prosperity,  idealized biblical themes, cultural elite, Eighty Years War, textile industry, tulips, seascapes, Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colors and  light, history painting, Utrecht Caravaggism, Portrait painting, Burghers, Family portraits, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Black death, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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References: Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3)

Author: S. Spooner