The Van de Veldes as a family business
The Willem van de Velde & Son exhibition highlights the family business of the Van de Veldes, their eye for detail and atmosphere, their enormous craftsmanship and the 'war correspondentship' of father Willem. Never before has the Maritime Museum brought together so many objects by both painters from its own rich collection and on loan.
The entrepreneurial spirit gave the Van de Veldes an international network: they worked for admirals, princes and kings. When the art market collapsed in the 'Disaster Year' of 1672, father and son accepted an old invitation from the English King Charles II to work at his court. They got a studio in the palace of Greenwich near London. They were also extremely successful in England.
Willem van de Velde the Elder himself was often present at major battles at sea. He got a small sailing ship and sailed between the huge warships. He sketched the combat actions on paper to be able to work it out in detail later in his studio.