The maritime side of history painting requires a thorough approach. Maarten Platje’s working process commences with a thorough research of the subject to be painted. What was the weather like there, the wave height, the wind direction, the cloud coverage and at what altitude was the sun? Which ships should be part of the image? Which proportions provide the most expressiveness? Books, paintings, historical journals and ship models should answer those questions.

Various sketches are made in pencil and oil paint to determine the correct composition and atmosphere. The final sketch is submitted to a board of experts, who may provide the painter with the necessary feedback.

The final phase consists of actually painting the canvas and working out the details.



In this phase the aim is to get the best possible picture of what actually happened. The questions who, what, where, how, need to be answered. Maarten Platje uses books, ship logs, maps and models of ships. The location is also regularly visited to get a good picture of the situation.


Maarten considers himself a storyteller. The expressiveness of the story must be expressed in the image. The design is not only about portraying the subject as accurately as possible, but also about adding the elements that led to the historical event, without these elements being stacked, as it were. The image should be like a press photo from the past. Maarten makes three pencil sketches and one sketch in oil paint. Only when everything has been worked out and prepared the final painting begins.

To paint

After the under drawing has been applied in marker (graphite contaminates the oil paint), Maarten applies an ochre yellow background. This provides a certain balance with the predominantly cool colours of the palette. Maarten uses a method in which he works from top to bottom and elaborates on the various sub-topics step by step. This has the added benefit of creating an even level of detail across the entire canvas.

Art prints

High-quality, limited art prints of these paintings are marketed under the name MP Art Studio. These prints, known as ‘giclées’, are printed on quality paper from the Hahnemühle brand and use durable Epson UltraChrome HDR pigments. They are hand signed and numbered by Platje. The series is offered as a ‘Limited Edition’.