Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Ludolf Backhuysen I (Dutch, 1630-1708)

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Calm and assured, Christ sits among his anxious disciples in a boat practically engulfed by waves. Though the weather menaces—the soot-colored clouds forecast torrential rains, and the fierce winds tear loose the sail’s rigging—the rays of sunlight at the upper left portend Christ’s command for the waves to subside. With this simple but dramatic composition, Backhuysen illustrates the power of faith.

Backhuysen was one of the leading painters of seascapes in the late 17th century. His earliest biographer reported that he often put to sea when a storm threatened in order to observe the changing weather conditions.

Sale at (Zomer, Amsterdam, 28 March 1708, lot no. 28).{1}
Sale at (De Winter, Amsterdam, 8 June 1763, lot no. 31);{2}
Purchased by H. Quinkhart.{3}
Purchased by Pieter Locquet [1700-1782];{4}
(Auction sale, Van der Schley and Yver, Amsterdam, 22 September 1783, lot no. 7);{5}
Purchased by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel [1726-1798].{6}
Pieter van Winter [1745-1807].{7}
Jonkheer Willem van Loon [1794-1847], Amsterdam, by 1835.
By inheritance to his widow, Jonkvrouw Anna Louisa Agatha van Winter [1793-1877].
Baron Lionel de Rothschild [1808-1879], 1878;
By descent to his son, Leopold de Rothschild [1845-1917], Gunnersbury Park, Middlesex, England;
By descent to his son, Anthony Gustav de Rothschild [1887-1961].{8}
By descent to his son, Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild [1931- ]. {9}
Sale at (Christie’s, London, 10 December 1993, lot no. 19).
(Bob P. Haboldt & Co., New York);
Purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1994 (1994.117).
{1} See Pieter Gerard Hoet, Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen met derzelver pryzen, zedert een langen reeks van jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere plaatzen in het openbaar verkogt, benevens een verzameling van lysten van verscheyden nog in wezen zynde cabinetten, s’Gravenhage, Pieter Gerard van Baalen, 1752, vol. 1, p. 113, under no. 28 (“Een St. Pieters Scheepje, van L. Bakhuysen”).
{2} See C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Based on the Work of John Smith, trans. Edward G. Hawke, London 1923, vol. 7, p. 215.
{3} See footnote 1 above.
{4} See footnote 1 above.
{5} See footnote 2 above.
{6} See footnote 2 above.
{7} See “Catalogue of Old Master Paintings Acquired by Lucretia Johanna van Winter, 1809-22,” in Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, vol. 25, no. 2/3, 1997, Appendix I, p. 217, under no. 16.
{8} See Catalogue of the Exhibition of 17th Century Art in Europe, Royal Academy of Arts, London 1938, cat. no. 206, where Anthony de Rothschild, Esq. is listed as the lender.
{9} Sir Evelyn de Rothschild is listed as the owner in the 10 December 1993 Christie’s sale catalogue.

Object Information

Ludolf Backhuysen I (Dutch, 1630-1708)
creation date
oil on canvas
23 x 28-1/2 in. (canvas)
approximately 34-1/2 x 39-1/2 x 3 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
signed and dated: L.BAKH. / 1695
accession number
credit line
Marian and Harold Victor Fund
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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