An allegorical painting of Dutch, Spanish, and English ships trading together

Ships bearing the flags of several different nations are shown in a bay. A fortress stands on a rugged headland, on the far left, with a rocky coastline and islet beyond. Figures can be seen on a jetty, in the left foreground, including two exquisitely dressed men in the far left. They are attended by servants carrying a parasol to shield them from the sun. Further along traders in turbans, also sheltered by parasols, are negotiating with seamen who have unloaded bales of merchandise. Despite its idealized landscape, this scene is traditionally believed to represent the East Indies, a theory supported by some of the figures’ costumes. The painting is unusual since it shows Dutch, Spanish and English ships peacefully trading together. This motif may be intended as an allegory of the benefits of peace during The Twelve Years’ Truce, 1609-21, between Spain and her rebellious Dutch provinces.

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Type: painting
Creator: Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom
Date: 1614
Location: India
Continent: Asia
Keywords: trading, ships, carrack, turban, oil painting, East Indies