Ships in the Roads of Amsterdam by Ludolph Backhuysen

Schepen op de rede van Amsterdam
Ships in the Roads of Amsterdam, ink on panel 75x140cm
Koninklijk College Zeemanshoop, Amsterdam
(image  2787×1532 px,2.8MB)

This ink painting by Ludolph Backuysen shows the river IJ crowded with ships as it is viewed from the north bank. In the left side one can see the Amsterdam Admiralty’s depot. The ship in the centre shows its decorated stern and can be identified. The carved female figure personifies Freedom, so this must be the Vrijheid. The stern of the ship in the right is also visible, and it is possible to recognize the arms of Amsterdam. However, there have been many ships built at Kattenburg shipyard named after the city, and there is no way to tell which one is shown here. Unlike Willem van de Velde Buckhuysen did not attempt to capture exact features of individual ships, but adapted and combined details of different vessels. In this work he tried not just to portray precisely the reality but to express the peace and prosperity of Amsterdam. While the themes of struggle on land and at sea are more common to the 17th century art, this painting evokes feelings of harmony.

Source ID: #backhlm#