CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Going Dutch at Lunch – How to Paint a Sea Fight?

Lecture: 15 November 2023

Going Dutch at Lunch

A series of free online lunchtime Zoom webinars organized by the Royal Museums Greenwich to accompany The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea exhibition, currently on show at the Queen’s House, Greenwich.

Advance registration is free but required. Please see the event website for more information.

Please note that this an in-person evening talk that takes place in the Queen’s House from 19:00-20:00 GMT (arrivals from 18:30).

How to Paint a Sea Fight? The Van de Veldes in Search of Information

Taking place in the historic Great Hall of the Queen’s House, this event is a unique opportunity to learn more about these fascinating artists, in the place where they lived and worked.

This year marks the 350th anniversary of the Battle of the Texel, which took place off the Dutch coast in August 1673.

Naturally, Willem van de Velde the Younger received commissions for paintings of this battle, which would prove decisive for the survival of the Dutch Republic. Like any marine painter, he had one problem to solve: how do you portray a massive event at sea?

Artists had been dealing with that challenge for centuries, and they came up with a variety of solutions, often depending on the wishes of the client and the information available. Even an eyewitness like Willem van de Velde the Elder did not oversee an entire sea battle from his galliot.

In the studio, the Van de Veldes had to transform the gathered information into an acceptable synthesis on a single canvas of a battle that sometimes lasted for days.

But in 1673, Van de Velde the Younger faced an additional challenge. He lived in England at the time and neither he nor his father had been present at the naval battle. So before a brush could be put to canvas, image research had to be done.

Using surviving drawings, Remmelt Daalder will retrace the steps Van de Velde took to capture the essence of the battle in paint.

Remmelt Daalder

Remmelt Daalder studied history at the University of Amsterdam. He worked at the Rotterdam Historical Museum and from 1990 until his retirement in 2014 at the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam.

As Senior Curator he was responsible for the collections of fine art. The commercial partnership of the Van de Veldes, the two principal marine painters of the seventeenth century, was the subject of his Ph.D. thesis: Van de Velde & Son: Marine Painters (published in Leiden, Primavera Pers 2015, paperback edition 2020). He now works as a freelance researcher and advisor in the field of maritime art and history.

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