What is Marine Art?

The wild, tempestuous crashing of waves on the open seas, coupled with stark images of a ship’s bow ripping through the waters, makes an original and engaging subject matter for artistic endeavours. Marine art is a form of expression that has been incredibly popular among Western audiences since at least the 17th century. Painters, sculptors, engravers and more throughout the years have felt a strong need to depict scenes of oceanic drama.

It makes perfect sense that many artists would focus their work on the many intense images that the seas can provide. For centuries, the idea of ship travel held a lot of uncertainty for travelers. For some, it meant a trip to riches untold in the New World. For others, a poorly charted course or an unseen boulder ripping through the hull could easily spell an untimely end thousands of miles away from home.

From the 1600s to the 1800s, marine art was a particularly strong genre of fine art, with many renowned artists choosing that subject matter for their works. Paintings and other artworks featuring aquatic scenes have been around for centuries before, but it’s only by the end of the Middle Ages that enough work existed to consider the subject its own genre.

Marine art was often a sign of an affluent, wealthy society. Not only does fine art require the sponsorship of well-to-do patrons, but shipping in the 17th and 18th centuries was a great means to accruing wealth and luxurious items for an entire nation. For instance, marine art was widely seen during the Dutch Golden Age, a time during which the Dutch Republic rose as a European power because of its prowess in crossing the seas for trade.

Throughout history, humans have held a strong connection with the wide open waters of the ocean. Even as aviation has created a quicker mode of transportation, many still associate naval power with the idea of national superiority. Windjammer Arts accurately depicts the powerful majesty of the oceans in each of our marine art works. Browse our website to see the wide variety of art we’ve created.

*Video courtesy of Alicia7777777