The Brederode off Hellevoetsluis
wo Dutch warships are shown off Hellevoetsluis, together with other shipping. On the left is a vice-admiral’s flagship, in port and stern view, flying the Dutch flag. It bears the arms of the City of Amsterdam on the stern. A ship’s boat is shown in port-broadside view rowing several passengers, sitting in the stern, towards the ship. Another ship with sails hoisted can be seen in starboard-bow view, behind the first. The principal ship on the right is probably the ‘Brederode’, shown in port and stern view. Built in 1645, she was Maarten Tromp’s flagship, in which he was killed at the Battle of Scheveningen in 1653. Here she flies the Dutch flag at the main and foremasts. Other shipping can be seen in the distance. The port of Hellevoetsluis – a major Dutch naval station – is on the right, including a windmill and walled defences. The painting is large, formal and on an impressive scale, and probably relates to another of slightly different composition in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Born in Rotterdam, de Vlieger was one of the important early painters in the emerging discipline of marine art. He was a member of the Delft Guild of Painters from 1634 and by 1638 was in Amsterdam. He settled in nearby Weesp and remained there for the rest of his life. De Vlieger decisively influenced the direction of Dutch marine art during the 1630s and 1640s. Significantly, as the pupil of Jan Porcellis and the master of Willem van de Velde the Younger, he provided a bridge between the second generation of Dutch marine painters and the third. He demonstrated his versatility and technical accomplishment by painting a wide variety of marine subjects and was also a sophisticated early exponent of the Dutch realist tradition. He moved away from a monochrome palette towards a silvery tonality and demonstrated a closely observed knowledge of shipping. He also painted figural representations for churches, genre scenes and landscapes, and was also an etcher. The painting is signed on spar bottom left ‘S. de Vlieger’.