Seascape paintings provide a spectacular waterfront view in any room of the home. It’s no wonder that this genre remains a timeless favorite among art lovers everywhere. Master artists known for their stunning seascapes include Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Ando Hiroshige, Pierre Auguste Renoir, J.M.W. Turner, and Winslow Homer. If you’re an appreciator of artwork depicting the sea, or are passionate about the water, we invite you to browse our international selection of original seascape paintings for sale. We offer works in acrylic, oil, watercolor and more in a diverse variety of artistic styles to suit your personal tastes and space.
Although the sea has captivated artists since antiquity, the subject became especially popular in Europe between the 17th and 19th centuries, beginning with a period known as the Dutch Golden Age of painting. Dutch artists became known for their realistic seascape paintings, which placed emphasis on the water and sky. Painters also focused on the relationship between humans and the ocean, often depicting ships and sailors to parallel the importance of naval power and trade. These maritime scenes, however, were not regarded as high art. During the Romantic period, landscape painters reclaimed the genre, emphasizing natural elements over manmade ones. During the late 1800s, coasts became primarily places for leisure rather than work. This shift further inspired artists to focus on the ocean itself. The sea continues to serve as timeless inspiration for artists today.
Artists utilized different seascape painting techniques to take different approaches to the genre. In general, the movement saw a gradual shift from naval ship scenes to purely aquatic ones. On a technical level, artists employed a variety of styles. Realist painters, most notably during the Dutch Golden Age, added an element of theatricality to their ocean compositions by combining slightly imaginary elements to their works. They played with light and shadow, for example, to dramatize a ship on a stormy sea. These painters also used low horizon lines to emphasize the sky and natural environment. . The Impressionists, known for working en plein air, added this theatricality to their compositions with thick, gestural brushstrokes and thickly layered paint. Artists today continue to explore the genre in all styles.
Many Dutch artists are well-known for their seascape paintings and artwork. Jan van Goyen is credited for helping pull Dutch landscape and seascape painting further into the realist style. Famous seascape paintings include Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (1633), Claude Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise” (1872) and “The Cliffs at Etretat” (1885), and Gustave Courbet’s “The Waves” (1869). J.M.W. Turner, known for his landscapes, also experimented with the genre in works like “The Jetty of Calais” (1803). Other painters known for their seascape works include Pieter Bruegel, Eugene Bodin, Claude Joseph Vernet, Berthe Morisot, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.