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The Storm

n.d. Ludolf Backhuysen Born: Emden, Germany 1631 Died: Amsterdam, Netherlands 1708 oil on canvas sight 26 x 37 in. (66.0 x 94.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of George W. Story 1923.8.6 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 5B

Luce Center Label

A rich but risky trade on the high seas brought a golden age to Holland in the seventeenth century. This painting shows the hazards that awaited Dutch ships, which ventured as far as Southeast Asia. A vessel has foundered on a rocky coast, its crew hanging from the rigging and bobbing in the surf. On the beach, salvagers have already begun to make away with the casks and bales that have washed ashore, even as the seamen plead for help. Ludolf Backhuysen learned his craft from two prominent marine painters in Amsterdam, and he soon established himself as the leading marine painter in Holland. Seventeenth-century Dutch paintings were popular in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wealthy patrons purchased such paintings with the intention of donating them to national museums, which they hoped would one day rival those of Europe.


Architecture Exterior - ruins

Disaster - shipwreck

Disaster - storm

Figure group

Waterscape - coast

Waterscape - sea


paint - oil

fabric - canvas