Category Archives: Maritime Art, Culture & History

Labour Day tribute to housewives, not mariners

Today, the 1st of May, is Labour Day in many countries. I thought I would pay tribute to housewives instead of seamen and seawomen. Housewives are not considered part of the working class since they do not receive wages. The tools of their ‘trade’ (see ‘Household Utensils‘ above by the 18th-century Italian artist, Giovanni Battista Piranesi) are not as sophisticated […]

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Celebrating old salts in paintings

On the great and sometimes crazy stage we call shipping, few players are more interesting than the old salts, the lobos de mar—men who cut their teeth on boats and know, as did Polish-British novelist and sea captain Joseph Conrad, that “there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” The following six iconic paintings shine […]

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Doña Paz disaster: a deficit of memory

It is five days before Christmas. In the collective delirium of holiday shopping, few Filipinos will remember that today, the 20th of December, is the 28th anniversary of the Doña Paz ferry tragedy. And yet, the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster will forever haunt mankind like the Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship which American artist Albert Pinkham Ryder depicted […]

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Japan’s maritime spirit embodied in art

Second largest shipowning country after Greece1. Second largest shipbuilding country after South Korea2. Japan is a maritime nation indeed. More than economics, however, it is art as exemplified by Katsushika Hokusai’s famous 1831 woodcut print The Great Wave off Kanagawa (pictured above) that helps define the Japanese maritime spirit. Total Share: 4021100

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The maritime herd mentality rules

Shipping is not any more conformist than other industries. But the herd mentality amongst maritime folks is so perceptible we are reminded of Friedrich Nietzche’s observation in his philosophical novel, Thus Spake Zarathustra: “No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.” Total Share: 8122201

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Spellbound by Winslow Homer’s marine art

More than a century after his death, Winslow Homer (24th February 1836 — 29th September 1910) continues to surprise, stimulate and spellbind. The man has been called the greatest American artist of the 19th century. Without a doubt, he is also one of history’s foremost maritime artists, an epithet made more significant by the fact that he was largely self-taught. […]

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Decline of art in the shipping world

Of late, we’ve been fascinated with nautical figureheads (like the one on the model of the 1790 French frigate Océan, pictured above). These wooden carvings on the prows of early sailing ships did not only serve to identify the vessel. They held a symbolic significance for the crew and were often associated with the spiritual world. Alas, such artistic expressions […]

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