A fishing boat caught in a storm thrashes about the waves, its mainsail torn. Another boat, in the far right of the picture, is on its way to help. Meanwhile, a merchant ship in the distance heads out to battle the storm. As one of the great marine painters of the 1600s, Ludolph Backhuysen painted many dramatic scenes like this. A Dutch artist, he would naturally have been drawn to the sea as a subject, the oceans being the main source of food, trade, and military victories for the Dutch, enabling their prosperity. Though, as this painting shows, the sea was sometimes more foe than friend.
(Text courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, CC BY 3.0.)