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Artist: Ludolf Backhuysen
[Dutch, 1631-1708]

Title: Ships in Distress in a Heavy Storm

Date: ca.1690
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 150 x 227 cm (59 x 89 inches)
Location: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Image size: 1600 x 1043 pixels, 159 Kbytes
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Ludolf Backhuysen: Ships in Distress in a Heavy Storm

A frequent subject for this artist, in his time one of Holland's leading marine painters. Backhuysen's Artcyclopedia page leads to many other paintings of storm-tossed ships.

Marine painters more typically associate sailing ships with more positive themes such as stateliness or serenity. But sea travel was extremely dangerous, and for Backhuysen, the subject becomes a kind of meditation on the fragility and transience of life, like a Dutch "Vanitas" still-life painting.
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