Famous Seascape Paintings – International

Famous International Seascape Paintings

The sea has fascinated humans ever since their inception on planet Earth. Poems have been written about its vastness, and songs inspired by its mystery. In the poem Sea-Fever, the former British laureate, John Masefield, once zealously mused: “I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running/ Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied…” Meanwhile, hall singer Mark Sheridan turned John A. Glover-Kind’s creation into a British summertime classic. It is for this reason that, as the summer approaches, holidaymaking Brits declare how they “do love to be beside the seaside”.

In turn, artists (most of them also human) have, over years and decades, shared this fascination for the seas. So much so, in fact, that the graphic representation of the sea has evolved into a discipline and a genre of art unto itself. In truth, seascape paintings have been one of the most established and developed art niches for centuries.

From classic to contemporary, here are some of the most famous seascape paintings to be spawned from the inspired brush tips of international artists.

‘The Ninth Wave’ – Ivan Aivasovsky (1850)

The Ninth Wave – Ivan Aivasovsky (1850)From one of the most devoted seascape artists of all time comes a work that is as close to technical perfection as can be imagined. The Ninth Waves captures the story of a group of unfortunate castaways and their battle against an oceanic monster. While the scene and setting is as dark as the scenario in which the drifters find themselves, the mystical ambiguity with which the setting sun is portrayed in the piece provides some illumination and, with it, a sense of hope; the shades of pink, green and oranges serve to warm both the image and the heart of the beholder.

‘La terrasse de Sainte Adresse’ – Claude Monet (1867)

In one of his most famous seascape paintings, Monet – who needs little introduction – portrays a friendlier and image of the sea. La terrace de Sainte Adresse reminds us that the sea can be a forum for recreation, reacquaintance and respite. Its three-tiered composition reflects the thought process of any good story-teller: the land, the sea and sky emphasise the horizon, while the two flags flapping in the breeze mark the boundaries of its vertical focus. One almost feels invited to sit in one of the vacant chairs and enjoy the Sunday sunshine. Monet juxtaposes this Jekyll side of the sea with a much more fierce depiction of its character in La Manneporte.

‘Horizon Ocean View' – Richard Diebenkorn (1959)

Horizon Ocean View – Richard Diebenkorn (1959)In this example of a contemporary, famous seascape painting, Diebenkorn presents a more contemporary reverie of the sea. It is more simple, more ‘urban’ and more appealing. The simplicity stretches to the composition, which, again, divides the seascape into what has become a familiar ‘sun, sea and sand’ format – framed, in this case, by a window. If the viewer allows their eyes to follow the crooked dance of the power cable into the distance and towards the horizon, they almost get a sense that the sea is as close and accessible as the little cuppa sitting in solitude in the foreground.

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