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 the spotlight on these hardy souls.

 

the-old-sea-dog_henry-scott-tuke
The Old Sea Dog, watercolour, 1888
Henry Scott Tuke, English painter and photographer (1858–1929)

portrait-of-vallier-the-sailor_paul-cezanne
Portrait of Vallier (The Sailor), oil on canvas, 1906
Paul Cézanne, French Post-Impressionist painter (1839–1906)

old-salt_george-benjamin-luks
Old Salt, oil on canvas, 1909
George Benjamin Luks, American realist painter (1867–1933)

le-gondolier-de-venise_akira-tanaka
Le gondolier de Venise, oil on canvas 1970
Akira Tanaka, Japanese painter (1918-1982)

the-merchant-captain-jose-gutierrez-solana
El capitán mercante (The merchant captain), oil on canvas, 1934
José Gutiérrez-Solana, Spanish painter and engraver (1886-1945)

clipper-ship-captain_charles-webster-hawthorne
Clipper Ship Captain, oil on canvas, 1921
Charles Webster Hawthorne, American painter (1872–1930)

I have known a number of old salts and admired them for their skills, their courage and fortitude, and their tales of the sea. Some, like so many others of their tribe, have departed. Thankfully, there are works of art to remember them by and they live on. ~Barista Uno