The Maritime Gallery is the only exposition of maritime art in Poland which presents such a rich and diverse collection of maritime works of art. It was founded in 2001 and its name refers to the Maritime Gallery established in 1934 in Gdynia by the most famous Polish seascapist Marian Mokwa. The Gallery presents selected works from the collection of the National Maritime Museum created since the Museum’s foundation, i.e. since 1960. The exhibition presents more than 80 works by eminent Polish and foreign artists from different periods and of different styles, starting from the 17th century to the period between the World Wars. Diverse topics are present at the exhibition – from marine disasters through seascapes and portraits, to the scenes from the everyday life of ports and fishing harbours. Among Polish works of art dating back to the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century there are paintings by Aleksander Gierymski, Jacek Malczewski, Ferdynand Ruszczyc, Michał Gorstkin Wywiórski and Marian Mokwa.
European art is represented by Baroque maritime paintings by Dutch seascapists of the 17th and 18th centuries, such as Wilhelm van de Velde the Younger, Ludolf Bakhuysen or the Willaerts family, as well as by Flemish painters from the Peeters brothers’ group. The genuine highlight of the exhibition are the works by Ivan Aivazovsky, a Russian Romanticism painter, which are of most significant value to the Gallery.
Ships’ portraits, or decorative pictures of ships, often with full sails, painted on the commission of ship owners as gifts for the most distinguished skippers, are another interesting part of the exposition.