Ship in Distress off a Rocky Coast

Simon de Vlieger (Dutch, 1601-1653)

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The emergence of the seascape as a pictorial subject is one of the most distinctive achievements of Dutch art. Simon de Vlieger's imaginative response to the great enterprise of Dutch seafaring resulted in an influential series of tempest scenes in which the artist experimented with the expressive potential of weather and geography.

In this work, a ship founders in treacherous waters off a rocky coast. Monks minister to castaways in a metaphoric reference to the human soul, afflicted by fate and in need of spiritual salvation.

Provenance research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Curator of European Art, at if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.

Object Information

Simon de Vlieger (Dutch, 1601-1653)
creation date
about 1645
oil on panel
21-3/4 x 31-1/4 in.
accession number
credit line
Gift in memory of Estelle Burpee Chambers and David L. Chambers, Jr. from their family and friends
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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