The sharp observation and engaging realism which characterizes the oeuvre of De Vlieger is apparent in the execution of the calm water, with its gentle shadows from the cloudy sky, the fishermen at work in the boats and the figure on the jetty looking out onto the sea, while the ebbing tide reveals the sandy grounds below the jetty. Under the thinly applied paintlayers the broad and sketchy underdrawing is beautifully visible.
Simon de Vlieger was probably the most important Dutch marine painter of the first half of the 17th century. Little is known of his early career, although his paintings of the 1620s and 1630s reveal a clear debt to Jan Porcellis. By the 1640s, he had evolved his own style, recognisable for its silvery light, cool palette and strong draftsmanship. De Vlieger formed a link between the second and third generations of Dutch marine painters, influencing Willem van de Velde II, who worked in his studio at Weesp, as well as Hendrick Dubbels and Jan van de Cappelle (who owned numerous paintings and more than 1,300 drawings by de Vlieger), who also probably trained in de Vlieger’s studio.