The painter Ludolf Backhuysen, who was born in Emden and later lived in Amsterdam, is regarded today as one of the most celebrated marine painters of the 17th century. He achieved his breakthrough as an artist in 1665, when he received a prestigious commission from the City Council of Amsterdam to paint a large view of this center of trade. At the latest from 1672, when father and son Willem van de Velde had gone to England, Backhuysen was considered to be the leading painter of seascapes in the United Netherlands. As may be seen in the small Bremen piece, he liked to depict ships on a stormy sea. In contrast to Jan van Goyen’s painting The Mouth of the River, the boats do not sail in a light breeze, but instead prepare for a rising storm. A dark, lowlying cloud dominates the center of the composition and, in the already ominous foreground, we see the choppy surface of the water with its white-tipped waves. The flags also unfurl at right angles in the brisk wind. On the frigate at the left, whose cannon hatches point to an entirely different kind of danger lurking at sea, most of the sails have already been lowered. In the right foreground, in a dramatic incidence of light, a small sailboat docks at the pier: Its jib is taut while the spritsail flaps loosely in the wind—a contrast that Backhuysen was fond of depicting time and again.