Peter van Dongen – Birth of a painting

Short film specially made for the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam.

In this film we see the creation of a new naval painting for the museum by Dutch cartoonist Peter van Dongen.
You can watch this film also at the Scheepvaartmuseum next to the painting.

Music: ‘Together We Will Live Forever’ van Clint Mansell ( • )

In the 17th century, a lively market for paintings of sea scenes emerged in the Netherlands. The maritime industry had become a major driver of the economy, in addition to being a source of national pride. People wanted to be reminded of the ships, the ports, the sea battles, the heroism and the storms, even in their own homes. And the painters and artists of the time gave them what they wanted. The best pieces by the best painters of the day were sold for obscene amounts of money.

Even the very earliest maritime masters had a unique style, experimenting with composition, perspective and the interplay of colour. As time passed, seascape painters were also influenced by new movements in the art of painting, such as romanticism and impressionism. Favourite themes were the mysterious power and beauty of nature and man’s insignificance. After 1900, seascape painters were rarely at the cutting edge of the art of painting as they had been in ages past, but the demand for their works remained high.

The collection you see in the museum is of world-class quality and shows how surprisingly rich the tradition of “Holland’s glory” really is.