This reorganization is not a negative, nor a positive. These landscapes are more subtle than that. There is no great, romantic tribute to a dominant Dutch navy, nor are there that many crashing waves and shipwrecks. Landscape artists carried commitments to making the scenes look natural, so the preeminence of the ocean and the winds seems natural too. These compositional choices had to look real because this was the reality that these objects were viewed in. The choice to submit to the ocean was an ordinary one to the Dutch, and this is very evident through these landscapes.
Jan van Goyen, Castle by a River, 1647
Oil on wood, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 64.65.1
Jan van Goyen, View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer, 1646
Oil on wood, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 71.62
Philips Koninck, An Extensive Wooded Landscape, 1670s
Oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980.4
Koninck is much more subtle in how he directs the eyes to the sea, which is not explicitly in the painting. The clouds run along lines that are not really parallel with the ground, leading focus to the horizon. The road on the shore runs diagonal, pointing the same direction, before turning away. The hillside in the background trails downward, giving way to what appears to be a coastal plain. These visual cues suggest that An Extensive Wooded Landscape is more than it says it is.
Salmon van Ruysdael, Marine, 1650
Oil on wood, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 71.98
Aelbert Cuyp, Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, c. 1650
Oil on wood, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973.155.2
Frans Post, A Brazilian Landscape, 1650
Oil on wood, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981.318