Reinier Zeeman

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Reinier Zeeman: Ships are being calfated on the IJ in front of Amsterdam. The painting is signed “R.Zeeman”

Reinier Zeeman (b. c. 1623 in Amsterdam; † August 1664 in Amsterdam) was a famous 17th-century Dutch marine painter and etcher.


Until the exhibition “Lof der Zeevaart” in 1996, the artist was referred to in art history as “Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman”. However, on contemporary documents and on the signed paintings only “Seeman” or “Zeeman” can always be found[1]. The name “Nooms” comes from the signed prints and title copies of his sheets and series. In these, various forms of the name are listed: “R[einier] Zeeman”, “Remy Zeeman”, “Reinier Nooms, alyas Zeeman” or “Reinier Nooms”. From these, earlier art historical scholarship has handed down Nooms and it is still in common use in the art trade today. Current scholarship has settled on the name form Zeeman.


We first learn of Zeeman in 1653, when he married Marija Moosijn and had two daughters by her. From before this time no news are known. Further provable stations in his life are not recognizable, except for a complaint of his wife against the landlords, who are said to have seduced the artist to immoral life. His wife inherited everything after Zeeman’s death in 1664. Pictures are known from the estate inventory, which suggest that he may well have been in Paris before 1650. The inventory also included books on nautical science. A journey to Berlin, which was often cited, is not vouched for
His artistic teachers are unknown, but a certain influence by Willem van de Velde the Elder can be assumed.

Reinier Zeeman: De Paerrel een Oostindis Vaerder, Den Dubbelen Arent een Westindis Vaerder, c. 1650

In addition to paintings, he produced an extensive oeuvre of prints. These show contemporary events, e.g. naval wars, allegorical representations, Amsterdam city views and encyclopaedic illustrations of ship types.

Charles Méryon copied Zeeman’s city views of Paris (a series of etchings) and thus recommended himself – at least as an etcher – as his equal.


  • Hermann Arthur Lier: Zeemann, called Reynier Nooms. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Vol. 44, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1898, p. 761 f.
  • Jeroen Giltaij, Jan Kelch (eds.): Loef der zeevaart. De Hollandse zeeschilders van de 17e eeuw. Rotterdam 1996. ISBN 90-6918-173-8

Individual references

  1. In contemporary painting sales lists he is regularly listed as Zeemann. see A. Bredius: “Schilderij-Prijzen te Amsterdam omstreeks 1664” in Oud-Holland, 1(1900), pp. 181-184.

Web links

Commons: Reinier Nooms– Album with pictures, videos and audio files