Dutch Indiamen Passing Herring Busses

Bonaventura Peeters (1614–52) specialized in allegorical depictions of the sea with religious meaning. The increasing affluence of the Dutch merchant classes led to a demand for such small-scale cabinet pictures to hang in domestic interiors. This painting of Dutch Indiamen passing herring busses, though, might not have strong Christian overtones, but rather exemplifies the celebration of the sources of wealth in the northern Netherlands.

In this portrait format the artist portrays the busy coastal waters of the North Sea with its fresh, windy and moist atmosphere. Across the low horizon various vessels can be seen, but most prominently an Indiaman is setting sail in the middle ground, possibly to go out on one of the Dutch trading routes, and a herring buss has cast out her net across the choppy and theatrically lit waves in the foreground.

Born in Antwerp, Bonaventura Peeters was made a Master of the Guild of Antwerp in 1634.

Object Details

ID: BHC0762
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Peeters, Bonaventura
Date made: 17th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Macpherson Collection
Measurements: Painting: 760 mm x 570 mm

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