Like the landscape, the marine scene is a genre that has its roots in the late 16th century. At that time, and also in the early 17th century, it was still mainly about depicting historical naval battles. Usually they were intended to brighten up the walls of a town hall or admiralty, but at the same time they served as a form of reporting. Hendrick Vroom and Cornelis van Wieringen are exponents of this first group of marine painters.
During the first decades of the Golden Age, however, marine scenes were stripped of their busy material and marine painters concentrated on the stillness of the waters or the roughness of a storm. The specific event, starring ships, gave way to the loveliness, if not the pathos, of the sea itself. It was Jan Porcellis who first reflected this change.[25] Smaller fishing vessels were increasingly depicted as well. The horizon grew lower and the skies widened and dramatic. In paintings by Simon de Vlieger, the horizon is sometimes so low that his paintings consist almost all about sky.

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