In the 17th century the Netherlands was one of the richest nations in the world, not only economically, but also culturally. At its peak, there were 700 painters producing about 70,000 paintings a year, which is why the era is still called the ‘Golden Age’.
The prosperity and success of the young republic depended on its command of the oceans and inland waters. Its strong sense of identity as a seafaring nation also inspired artists. A new genre arose: marine painting. Like poetry, its visual verses and rhymes express the range and importance of maritime activity. A little fishing boat on a Dutch beach is portrayed with the same care and detail as an imposing three-master on a stormy sea.