One of Amsterdams most distinguished and renowned marine painters.

Biography of Reinier Nooms Named Zeeman

Reinier Nooms, also known as Zeeman (seaman). He was born in 1623 or 1624, probably i Amsterdam.  He reached the peak of his career in the middle of the seventeenth century.

Nothing is known about Nooms’ origins and young years, yet it has always been assumed that the man who signed his work with Zeeman” appropriated this right because of previous being a rough sailor at sea.

Nooms was in Paris sometime between 1650 and 1652, where he may have become acquainted with the art of etching, possibly training in the workshop of Michiel van Plattenberg. On 6 April 1653 he married Maria Jansdr Mozijn or Mouzijn, the elder sister of the engraver Michiel Mozijn, with whom Nooms collaborated on at least two occasions. From this marriage two daughters are born, successively Neeltjen and Lisbet.

Nooms travelled extensively and visited Paris, Venice and the coast of North Africa. Zeeman started relatively late with drawing and painting but had a successful career and for a time worked for the Brandenburg Court at Berlin.

One of the first war correspondents at sea

In 1661 Nooms sailed to the Mediterranean with a Dutch fleet under the command of the famous admiral, Michiel de Ruyter, who was being sent to the Barbary coast to put down the pirates and prevent them from doing any further harm to Dutch merchantmen. Nooms made numerous sketches on the voyage. Despite the fact that Reinier Noomss career lasted a mere ten years, he achieved great things in that short space of time.

Shipping in the Levant.

Oil on canvas, 36.2 x 41.7 cm

Signed lower right: R. ZEEMAN

Artistic Style and influences

Reinier Nooms was strongly influenced by Willem van de Velde the Younger and worked in the Dutch realist style. Zeeman’s works demonstrate his knowledge of the design and rigging of ships and so present an accurate record of contemporary Dutch shipping. His ships and maritime scenes are depicted with high accuracy and in great detail. He painted harbour views, scenes of the meditterenean and views of Amsterdam. He issued a few prints on his own shortly after his return from Paris, but must have entered into a sort of business agreement with Cornelis Danckerts. As in his paintings, the artistic challenge of capturing the atmospheric effects of depth and light can be seen in his etchings. Reinier Nooms became acquainted with Claude Lorrain or at least must have seen his marine paintings during his stay in Paris, because the influence of Lorrain is clearly discernable in his views of the Levant. His numerous sketches and drawings which he put to print later in life, made it possible to identify various types of ships, at present day.

Notable Works

Shipping off the coast of Calais.

Oil on canvas, 64.3 x 39.4 cm.

Signed on the ship in the middle: R. ZEEMAN

Notable Works

The Battle of Livorno, 14 March 1653, Jan van Galen’s ‘Seven Provinces’ boarding the ‘Leopard’ under the command of Admiral Henry Appleton, on the right the frigate the ‘Sun’ under Captain Bogaert.

Oil on canvas, 78.5 x 115 cm.

Signed in the commander’s flag: ZEEMAN

His pursuit of a faithful representation of reality is reflected in his entire oeuvre.

He depicted his ships so accurately in his paintings and etchings that they are used to identify the most common types of ships around 1660.

Notable Works

View of the IJ and the Naval Arsenal in Amsterdam at low tide in 1664.

Oil on canvas, 52 x 68 cm.

Signed and dated on the ship in the foreground: R ZEEMAN 1664

Provenance: France, private collection

Notable Works

Harbour view

Oil on canvas, 45.5 x 56.8 cm.

Signed lower right: R. Zeeman

Dated: 1663

Related Products

A second version of The capture of Damietta is in the collection of the Frans Halsmuseum in Haarlem and Cornelis van Wieringen painted both paintings in preparation for the magnificent tapestry after his design that is still in the Mayor’s Room of Haarlem City Hall today.

There is also a drawing of Damiate by Van Wieringen which is kept in the Musée du Louvre in Paris.


G. de Beer, F. Ossing, J. van der Ven, C. Dumas, exhib. cat. The Golden Age of Dutch Marine Painting.The Inder Rieden Collection. Vol. III, Leiden 2022.

Laurens J. Bol, The Dutch Marine Painting of the 17th Century, Brunswick, 1973, 289-296.

R. Daalder Oorlogsvoorbereidingen op het IJ, in: Zeemagazijn, August 1994, pp. 3-4 (ill.)

J. Gaschke, Turmoil and tranquillity : the sea through the eyes of Dutch and Flemish masters, 1550-1700, exhib. cat. London 2008.

M. van Gelder, ‘Tussen Noord-Afrika en de Republiek: Nederlandse bekeerlingen tot de islam in de zeventiende eeuw’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 126:1 (2013) 16-33, 24.

J.Giltaij and J.Kelch, Praise of Ships and the Sea: The Dutch Marine Painters of the 17th Century (Rotterdam and Berlin, 1997), 277.
J. Giltaij and J. Kelch, exhib. cat. Praise of ships and the sea: the Dutch marine painters of the 17th century,
Rotterdam (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) & Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) 1996, pp. 284-285, cat. no. 61.                                                                                        

The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, 1450–1700, Vol. I, 2001.     


He is considered to be one of the most important Dutch maritime artists of the seventeenth century after the Van de Veldes and the most important etcher of ships of the golden age.

Through this pillar page, we hope to have provided you with a comprehensive insight into the life, influences, and remarkable creations of this splendiferous painter.