Mesdag (1831-1915) was already 35 in 1866 when he decided to become an artist. Until then he had been working at his father's bank and had drawn purely for pleasure. To pursue his studies he moved to Brussels, where his teacher was the Dutch painter Willem Roelofs. The sea became Mesdag's principal theme. In 1869, he settled by the coast at The Hague. His favourite place for painting was the beach at Scheveningen. In 1870 he made his international breakthrough, winning a medal at the Paris Salon. His most spectacular work, the Panorama, was completed in 1881. This circular canvas, 14 metres high and 120 metres in circumference, can be seen in The Hague near Museum Mesdag. He founded the museum next to his house together with his wife Sientje Mesdag-Van Houten, herself an artist, to show their collection of work by artists of the Hague and Barbizon schools.