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Marine Artists

Seas have always attracted the attention of creative people: thousands of paintings are dedicated to them. The sea, one day menacing and implacable in its anger, and another day calm and soothing, captivates artists, charms them with the whisper of its waves, the sound of seagulls calling, the reflections of the sun or the moon – and that's how the paintings of this wayward element are born. Anyone who has seen the sea at least once, will never forget its beauty, and very sensitive people can even smell see water and algae and hear the wash and the song of a storm finch when just looking at the canvas with a seascape (marine) on it.

The images of the sea can be found in ancient paintings: it was depicted by the ancient Greeks and Romans, while the Sumerians considered the sea to be the hypostasis of the Mother, who gave birth to gods and people. As soon as the ideas of Christianity penetrated into the ancient, and then European culture, the subject of painting changed to a religious one, and the sea was assigned a secondary role. Thus, paintings by Dutch and Italian artists of the 14th – 15th centuries depicted the sea solely in the context of biblical scenes.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the situation began to change gradually. The first marine painting, being basically the image of the sea itself, is considered to be a work of 1540, which depicts the ships of the Portuguese fleet in the picturesque harbor (authorship undetermined). From that point on, artist resorted to other themes that allowed them to paint the sea, without constraining themselves with a religious plot: they created paintings on historical and battle scenes.

The Dutch had a huge influence on the development of the seascape as a separate genre of visual arts. In 1568, Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted his work The Storm at Sea, in which the sea appears out of context, just as it is. Half a century later, Jan Porcellis also tried on the status of a seascape painter: the sea became the main image on his canvases. For the European public of that time, Porcellis' paintings The Sea on a Cloudy Day, Seascape, Shipwreck off the Coast, and A Storm at Sea were something new and unusual.

The Dutch passed the torch to Italian, German, and French painters. Paintings depicting the sea in its various states were created by such titans of world painting as Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and others. The peak of the popularity of seascape painting was in the middle of the 17th century, and later more than one generation of marine painters grew on the works created in that era: Scott, Monamy, Brooking, Crome. William Turner admitted that he began to paint after seeing van de Velde's engraving with a seascape. The list of famous marine painters of the 18th – 19th centuries includes the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, the Frenchmen Courbet and Vernet, and the Englishman Buttersworth.

In Russia, seascape painting became a separate genre by the middle of the 19th century. Its founder is rightfully considered to be Ivan Aivazovsky, who devoted more than 6 thousand works to the sea. Aivazovsky had a number of Russian artists who followed him: Kuindzhi, Bogaevsky, GanzenSudkovsky and others. Other marine painters, such as DubovskoyBeggrov and Borisov, refined their own style, drawing on the works of the Dutch.

Seascape painting as a genre is still of great interest: it is popular among contemporary painters. In this section of our art portal, you can find the works of artists of the 19th – 21st centuries, as well those by famous marine painters of the past.
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