A Dutch Three-Master and other Ships off 't Sondt - a Rocky Swedish Coast
Jan Beerstraten (Amsterdam 1622 - Amsterdam 1666)
Oil on panel
89.8 x 123 cm
Signed with initials bottom, to left of centre “I B”
By descent in an English Noble Family
Under a sunny sky with towering clouds a Dutch ship sails. More Dutch vessels can be made out in the middle zone and further in the distance.
A Swedish three-master under full sail approaches from the right middle ground. Between the two coastlines a stiff breeze makes the waves go up. The torn flags tell us the ships have survived even heavier weather. The long shadows on the choppy water add another dramatic note.
The scene takes place off the Swedish coast on the Sound, a narrow strait between present day Denmark and Sweden where Dutch mercantile ships sailing to the Baltic had to pass through. The Dutch called their trade with countries bordering on the East Sea their “moedernegotie” (mother-trade). As the backbone of their economy this trade was of fundamental importance to the Dutch Republic.