Ludolf Bakhuizen (Emden 1630-1708 Amsterdam) The Triumph of Neptune and Amsterdam

Ludolf Backhuysen or Bakhuizen (he used to sign with "Backhuijsen" untill the 1680's and later on ommitted the "c" and simplified his signature into "Bakhuizen") was initially trained by his father as a calligraph. Around the 1650's he started drawing "penschilderingen" (pen paintings), inspired by Willem van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693). Thereafter Ludolf had apprenticeships to Allaert van Everdingen (1621-1675) and Hendrik Dubbels (1621-1676). After the van de Velde's left for England around 1672, Bakhuizen became the most important sea painter of the Republic with Royal commissions of Tuscany, Prussia and Russia by Tsar Peter the Great who took drawing lessons from Bakhuizen.[1]

Ludolf Bakhuizen made several allegorical drawings, mainly preparatory drawings to the series of prints depicting the Triumph of Neptune and the Personification of the city of Amsterdam. Our drawing seems to be an early study version to "The Triumph of Amsterdam" and comes closest to the version of "The Triumph of Amsterdam", present in the collection British Museum, London, which is the study and preparatory drawing to the main print of "D' Y'stroom", 1701.[2]

The depicted scene shows ships on the river "Ij", Amsterdam, with the VOC Schipyard ('s Lands Zeemagazijn) in the background and Neptune and Amphitrite on the foreground. The drawing shows the personification of Amsterdam ("stedemaagd van Amsterdam") holding a shield with the coat of arms of the city of Amsterdam, seated on a triumphal chariot with Neptune, God of the Sea. The chariot pulled by sea horses and Nereids, of which one seems to hold the palm branch of Fame. On the left of Neptune a Triton blows his shell horn. Whether the ship on the left is the "Amsteldam" is unclear, as the stern is too sketchy for a clear determination.

Bakhuizen painted a preliminary scene "Het zeemagazijn en de scheepstimmerwerf van de VOC op het eiland Oosterburg te Amsterdam" (The sea warehouse and shipyard of the VOC on the island of Oosterburg, Amsterdam) in 1696. Our drawing therefore may be dated between 1696 and 1701, more specifically around 1700.[3]

In 1701 he published a series of ten etchings called "D' Y stroom, en zee gezichten, geteekent en geetst door Ludolf Bakhuizen, Anno 1701 In Amsterdam" (D' Y stream and sea scapes, drawn and etched by Ludolf Bakhuizen).



[1] Ben Broos et. al, Ludolf Bakhuizen, (1631-1708), schryfmeester - teyckenaer - schilder. Amsterdam/Emden, 1985.

[2] Triumph of Neptune and Amsterdam. British Museum, inv. no. 1836,0811.36

[3] Het zeemagazijn en de scheepstimmerwerf van de VOC op het eiland Oosterburg te Amsterdam.
Oil on canvas, 130 x 140 cm. Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, inv./ B 2764

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