We should make the difference between two homonymous Flemish painters called Pieter van de Velde; this second, younger painter active around 1700 might actually have been called Pieter van Velden.
The Dutch ship at right flies the flag of Hoorn (horizontal bands of red and white). The town of Hoorn is actually visible in the background.
About Pieter van de Velde or Pieter van Velden
There seems to reign some confusion about 2 Flemish marine painters who both were called Pieter van de Velde or Pieter van Velden:
- the eldest of the two was born in Antwerp in 1634 and he probably died there in 1707. He was influenced by two important Flemish marine painters, the brothers Bonaventura I (Antwerp 1614 – Hoboken 1652) and Jan I Peeters (Antwerp 1624 – 1677 or 1680 Antwerp). The figure staffage in his paintings is sometimes given David Teniers II or to Erasmus Quellinus II;
- the youngest of the two was active until the very end of the 1720-ies. He seems to have undergone the influence of the eldest Pieter van de Velde, might he have been his son? His figures are more naïve, like little puppets, which he must have painted himself. This is our painter, of whom more paintings are known than of Pieter I.
Both artists painted ships on the North Sea and on the Mediterranean, in general Dutch ships.
Until now, only Jan De Maere ("Illustrated Dictionary of 17th Century Flemish Painters", Brussels 1994, page 407) mentions a second painter, active in the 18th century. Museums, auction houses and the antique dealers are still attributing all these marine paintings to one and the same painter.
Therefore it would seem safer to us to make a difference between Pieter van de Velde I and II, the Elder and the Younger. Our painting should then be attributed to Pieter van de Velde the Younger.
About our painting
The ships in our painting are lying in front of the roadstead of Hoorn. The ship at right is actually flying the flag of Hoorn with its horizontal bands of red and white.
As to the Dutch flag, it was originally called the “Prince’s flag” (“Prinsenvlag”) referring to Prince William of Orange: horizontal bands of orange, white and blue. After the mid 17th century the original orange was changed into red, for the orange dye was unstable and tended to turn to red. This then became the flag of the Netherlands. But orange remained the colour symbolic of Holland.
Next to the Red Lion lays a Spanish galley.
Hoorn lays on the Zuiderzee, in West Friesland, North of Amsterdam and of the province of Holland.
The neighbouring harbour towns of Hoorn and Enkhuizen shared one of the smaller admiralties of the navy of the Dutch Republic, the Admiralty of West Friesland or of the Northern Quarter (‘Noorderkwartier’), which was created in 1589. Every three months, from 1597 on, it switched its location between Enkhuizen and Hoorn. The other admiralties were Amsterdam, Zeeland, Rotterdam and Friesland.
Delft, Rotterdam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen were also the smaller chambers of the Dutch East Indies Company, next to Amsterdam and Zeeland.
Cape Horn, the most southerly point of the Americas, was named after the town by Willem Schouten, who rounded it in 1616.
Another famous Dutchman born in Hoorn, Jan Pieterszoon Coen (1587 – 1629), was during two terms Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. He founded Dutch Batavia (today Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia) on top of the burned ruins of the pre-colonial town.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a typical, very decorative maritime subject by Pieter van de Velde the Younger.