The ship functioned as an image of the church, as in Giotto's lost Navicella above the entrance to Old St Peter's in Rome, but such representations are of relatively little interest from the purely marine point of view.
A distinct tradition begins to re-emerge in Early Netherlandish painting, with two lost miniatures in the Turin-Milan Hours, probably by Jan van Eyck in about 1420, showing a huge leap in the depiction of the sea and its weather.
Initially just consisting of the "hull", from the 15th century the most elaborate had masts, sails and even crew.
As the exotic nautilus shell began to reach Europe, many used these for their hull, like the Burghley Nef of about 1528.
Of the seashore scene called The Prayer on the Shore (or Duke William of Bavaria at the Seashore, the Sovereign's prayer etc.) Kenneth Clark says: "The figures in the foreground are in the chivalric style of the de Limbourgs; but the sea shore beyond them is completely outside the fifteenth-century range of responsiveness, and we see nothing like it again until Jacob van Ruisdael's beach-scenes of the mid-17th century." but both pages were destroyed in a fire in 1904, and only survive in black and white photographs.
For the rest of the 15th century illuminated manuscript painting was the main medium of marine painting, and in France and Burgundy in particular many artists became skilled in increasingly realistic depictions of both seas and ships, used in illustrations of wars, romances and court life, as well as religious scenes.
In practice the term often covers art showing shipping on rivers and estuaries, beach scenes and all art showing boats, without any rigid distinction - for practical reasons subjects that can be drawn or painted from dry land in fact feature strongly in the genre.
Strictly speaking "maritime art" should always include some element of human seafaring, whereas "marine art" would also include pure seascapes with no human element, though this distinction may not be observed in practice.
Maritime painting is a genre that depicts ships and the sea—a genre particularly strong from the 17th to 19th centuries.Ancient Roman painting, presumably drawing on Greek traditions, very often shows landscape views from the land across a lake or bay with distant land on the horizon, as in the famous "Ulysses" paintings in the Vatican Museums.The water is usually calm, and objects that are submerged, or partly so, may be shown through the water.Ships sometimes appear in Ancient Greek vase painting, especially when relevant in a narrative context, and also on coins and other contexts, though with little attempt at a seascape setting.As in Egyptian painting, the surface of the water may be indicated by a series of parallel wavy lines.