At the age of 19 years, defying his father, he took off on a trip across Europe: Spain, France, Poland...he arrived in Italy, where he met the painter Paulus Bril, and was taken under the tutelage of Cardinal Ferdinand de Medicis.
Returning to Haarlem in 1590, he began to paint the ocean, and developed a career. He is commissioned from every corner of Europe, and continued to travel. Notably he was commissioned to do 10 tapistries commemorating the victory of the English Admiral Lord Howard of Effingham over the Spanish Armada.
Internationally renowned, he is considered to be the "father" of martime paintings. He died in 1640 in Haarlem.
One can find his works in the following museums:
Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Royal Collection and National Martitime Museum (Greenwhich)