circle of Pieter Pietersz.: Portrait of a Dutch Naval officer (1570-1610)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Up until the 16th century, a nation didn't have a standing navy. When ships were needed, merchant ships would be rented along with its crews. A high ranking noble would serve as the admiral but the command at sea would be given to someone who really had experience with ships. During the Dutch war of independence (1568-1648), the Dutch started to build their own navy in order to counter the Spanish ships. This portrait shows a naval officer from the early period. As his coat of arms and Helmet contains a cooking pot, this man is not a high ranking noble. He has a silver Boatswain's call and a rapier so his rank is probably that of a captain or somewhat lower. Ships can be seen on the right which further identifies him as a naval officer. this portrait if from the period 1570-1610.