The strong brushwork is exemplary for Eertvelt’s stile furioso, which seems to derive from the work of Agostino Tassi and would be crucial for the development of the Flemish seventeenth-century sea piece.
Because of their metaphorical meaning seastorms were a popular phenomenon in visual culture and poetry during the humanist period. There already is mention of a ‘sinful ship’ of the soul which had to travel on God’s pity in a Middle-Netherlandish poem from the late 15th century. A comparable notion is captured in a poem written by Eertvelts colleague and contemporary, Bonaventura Peters, preserved in the margin of a drawing:
Like a Ship at sea driven by the waves
first high, then low, in doubt where it will sail,
through the fierce sea tempest, so it goes with the condition
of men, who are much more inclined to evil
than to virtue whereby they suffer nothing but torment,
like sailors who go to sea for battle
who sometimes have pleasure from much captured booty
yet the voyage rarely turns out to their advantage;
The weather is lovely when one can sail before the wind
as long as one does not find a shoal (which will split the ship).
See: Brochure Andries van Eervelt called Naentkens, Gallery Rob Kattenburg BV 2018