Famous water art work
Artists have always been fascinated with water. The way it moves, the way it reflects and the atmosphere it can generate are all visually interesting. From Vincent Van Gogh to Claude Monet, famous artists have been inspired by water. Mark Mitchell writes about the depiction of water in art, saying:
“In landscape paintings, water is often a main focus or at least a featured factor – especially in coastal paintings, and, of course, marine art. Water has been represented and stylised in many different ways throughout the history of art. There is something about water that draws us to it; it has a sort of power that has a mysterious hold on us; this earthly element has attracted the attention of artists throughout time, and continues to do.”
In this article, we will look at some of the most well-known paintings which feature water.
In 1900, American artist Winslow Homer painted ‘West Point, Prout’s Neck’. Homer’s art was often inspired by the ocean, living off the coast of Maine. He lived alone in a cottage on the shore for 25 years. In Homer’s paintings, the sea is untamed, stormy, and dangerous. He often painted fishermen in danger, their fishing boats being overtaken by huge waves. In “West Point, Prout’s Neck”, the rough water is producing sea foam creating an “S” shape. Some critics say that the “S” shape is almost a feminine figure, and could represent the spirit of the Atlantic.
“Waves Breaking” by Claude Monet, was painted in 1881. Monet loved to paint the English Channel from a certain spot in Normandy. To capture the moods of the sea he would paint at different hours and in all weather conditions. “Waves Breaking” contains nothing but foaming waves that look as if they almost reach up to the sky.
Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai was a master artist and printmaker. Hokusai woodblock print “The Great Wave” (c1831) shows a large wave rising and then crashing down while three boats struggle against the unpredictable brutal force of the waves.
Modern, 1900 – present
The impressive graphite drawing “Ocean” was created by Latvian-American artist Viji Celmins in 2005. It is one of the most detailed graphite drawings ever made. Each stroke of the pencil has created rippling range of monochrome tones and layers giving feeling of movement. The drawing looks like a photograph at the first glance.
“Horizon Ocean View” by Richard Diebenkorn (1959) is a bright and breezy contemporary seascape painting. The American artist paints a vibrant sunny scene.
Raoul Dufy’s 1927 masterpiece, “Baie des Anges, Nice” shows a cosmopolitan seaside view of the Mediterranean Sea. Dufy painted the bay repeatedly, showing off the vibrant blue ocean, palms and white buildings. His paintings have literally become picture postcards. Raoul Dufy was quoted as saying, “Painting the Baie des Anges is like painting Venice: everyone has done it before you.”