The National Gallery of Art’s ongoing exhibition “Water, Wind, and Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age” brings together masterworks of seventeenth-century seascape painting, a rarely exhibited genre intimately connected to the Dutch Republic’s rise to global maritime power. On view through November 25, the exhibition includes nearly fifty paintings, prints, drawings, and antique ship models, which all explore the Dutch relationship to the sea in the seventeenth century. With monumental canvases of roiling oceans and warships cracking against shoals, the exhibition’s curator, Alexandra Libby, presents a vision that contradicts the common view of the Northern Baroque. The hushed interiors of Vermeer find no quarter here.

A work of art tells much about its audience, and these paintings reflect the aspirations and anxieties of the Dutch...


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