Hendrick Vroom is considered the Nestor of Dutch marine painters. He was the first artist to specialize in realistic depictions of ships and beach scenes that are of great documentary value. His paintings are furnished with numerous figures and staffage: sailors, soldiers, fishermen, richly dressed citizens and children. Not surprisingly, his work was in high demand even in his time, despite the fact that the celebrated artist charged hefty prices for his paintings. Anecdotally, the story goes that he asked such a high price for a historical painting that the thrifty patrons refused to continue working with him and awarded the work to his equally famous colleague Cornelis Claesz. van Wieringen.
In our beach view, we see returning fisher pinks with their catch; men carry the fish in baskets to the beach, where some richly dressed citizens await the merchandise. A shrimp fisherman can be seen on the right of the picture. The large ship in the background is probably an armed warship that served as a guard for the fishing fleet.
The painting, painted with great precision, is a good example of Vroom’s mastery and gives us a glimpse of beach life 400 years ago.