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Willem van de Velde II

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The son of famed maritime draftsman Willem van de Velde the Elder, Willem van de Velde II followed in his father’s footsteps and became one of the period’s most renowned maritime painters. Willem van de Velde II was born in 1633 in the Netherlands. His first artistic training was from his father, and he undertook a period of study under the tutelage of the painter Simon de Vlieger. While scholars know few details about his personal life, some large life events of his are preserved in the public record. The younger Willem van de Velde married twice and had six children during his second marriage, three of the boys all going on to become painters. In 1672, Willem van de Velde II moved to London alongside his father. Though the reasoning is unknown, this move was likely for a combination of opportunities and political tensions between the Netherlands and France. Both father and son received royal appointments as official maritime painters from King Charles II, enabling the two to establish a studio in the Queen’s House in Greenwich in 1674. The younger Willem van de Velde took over the studio entirely following his father’s death. Though Willem van de Velde II began his career more focused on coastal scenes or serene depictions of the sky and ocean, his commissioned work later in life caused him to increasingly produce Dutch and English naval battles, as well as storm scenes. Willem van de Velde II was often required to be present at significant maritime events to document them. He died in April of 1707.

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