Ludolf Backhuysen became Holland’s leading marine specialist when Willem van de Velde the Elder and the Younger (father and son) moved to London in 1672-1673. The artist elevated marine painting from a mere branch of landscape to a true art form. Central to his contribution are his storm scenes, which offered him the widest possible range of possibilities to explore the limits of dramatic expression. Dutch Ships in a Tempest was painted around 1662, early in the masters career. This early masterpiece which is painted primarily in grey tones, shows Backhuyzen’s indebtedness to Simon de Vlieger.