This eminent artist was the son of the preceding, and born at Amsterdam in 1633. He had already acquired a distinguished reputation in his native country for his admirable cabinet pictures of marine subjects, when he accompanied his father to England, where his talents not only recommended him to the patronage of the king, but to the principal nobility and personages of his court, for whom he executed many of his most beautiful works. “The palm,” says Lord Orford, “is not less disputed with Raffaelle for history, than with Van de Velde for sea-pieces.” He died in 1707.
THE YOUNGER VAN DE VELDE’S WORKS.
Like his father, the younger Van de Velde designed everything from nature, and his compositions are distinguished by a more elegant and tasteful arrangement of his objects, than is to be found in the productions of any other painter of marines. His vessels are designed with the greatest accuracy, and from the improvements which had been made in ship-building, they are of a more graceful and pleasing form than those of his predecessors; the cordage and rigging are finished with a delicacy, and at the same time with a freedom almost without example; his small figures are drawn with remarkable correctness, and touched with the greatest spirit. In his calms the sky is sunny, and brilliant, and every object is reflected in the glassy smoothness of the water, with a luminous transparency peculiar to himself. In his fresh breezes and squalls, the swell and curl of the waves is delineated with a truth and fidelity which could only be derived from the most attentive and accurate study of nature; in his storms, tempests, and hurricanes, the tremendous conflict of the elements and the horrors of shipwreck are represented with a truthfulness that strikes the beholder with terror.
The works of the younger Van de Velde are very numerous, and the greater part of them are in England, where Houbraken says they were so highly esteemed that they were eagerly sought after in Holland, and purchased at high prices to transport to London; so that they are rarely to be met with in his native country. Smith, in his Catalogue raisonne, vol. vi. and Supplement, describes about three hundred and thirty pictures by him, the value of which has increased amazingly, as may be seen by a few examples. The two marines now in the Earl of Ellesmere’s collection, one a View of the Entrance to the Texel, sold in 1766 for L80, now valued at L1,000; the other sold in 1765 for L84, now valued at L500. A Sea-View, formerly in the collection of Sir Robert Peel, sold in 1772 for only L31; brought in 1828, L300. The Departure of Charles II. from Holland in 1660, sold in 1781 for L82; it brought recently, at public sale, L800. A View off the Coast of Holland sold in 1816 for L144; it brought, in Sir Simon Clarke’s sale in 1840, L1,029. A View on the Sea-Shore, 16 inches by 12, sold in 1726 for L9, and in 1835 for L108. The picture known as Le Coup de Canon, sold in 1786 for L52, in 1790 for only L36, but in 1844 it brought 1,380 guineas.