The term “old salt” is widely understood to mean an experienced or seasoned mariner. But how many years of sailing experience does it take for one to be given the tag? I have known some fellows who chalked up enough seagoing service to get licensed as masters in their early 30s. Can they be called “old salts”?
Some of the most alluring and interesting artworks that feature Venice are those executed in watercolour. The reason for this has as much to do with the peculiarities of the medium as with the timeless appeal of the city’s grand architecture and its quaint bridges and charming gondolas.
The small Paris circle of artists who started what was to become known as Impressionism included a woman. Her name: Berthe Morisot (born 14 January 1841, Bourges, France—died 2 March 1895, Paris). By all indications, Morisot was liked and considered an equal by the other members of the group, which included the great Claude Monet. Even so, she had to put up with 19th-century male prejudice.
The 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn painted only one seascape. This is not so surprising. Religious subjects, mythological characters, and portraits make up the bulk of Rembrandt’s oeuvre. But how one wishes that he had created more sea paintings
Bay or harbour? Which of these two terms to use can sometimes pose a dilemma. Official names help to some extent — e.g., “New York Harbor” and “Manila Bay”. But one may well ask: what is the difference between the two given that ships regularly come in and out of both places?
The pilot boats of the past relied on sail or steam power and were significantly slower than their modern-day counterparts. But they were known for their agility, which was a testament to the skill of those who navigated them. They also had a certain charm.
The expression “to swear like a fishwife” evokes the image of a loud and foul-mouthed woman. Although the analogy has the ring of truth, it does not do justice to the fishwives of old. These women, who were often wives or daughters of fishermen, epitomised strength, industry and fortitude. Consider the tasks that they usually had to perform:
The Japanese have a love affair with the moon that goes back centuries. It is reflected in their traditional art and poetry and the annual moon-viewing festival called tsukumi. It is not just the moon’s beauty that drives this lunar mania.
There is something inexplicably beautiful about snowy landscapes. This is not the only reason, though, that they figure prominently in traditional Japanese art. For the Japanese, snow is a symbol of purity. The following traditional snowscapes all feature a river or the sea. They reflect the Japanese sense of connectivity with nature; their view of nature as intertwined with the world of the spirit; and their Buddhist-inspirted notion of the transience of things.
How can one tell if it’s a wharf, a pier or a jetty? The question can stump non-maritime professionals. But even some seafarers may not be able to give a satisfactory answer. Dictionaries provide varying definitions, some of which can be a bit vague. The following works of art should be of help to those who sometimes or often get confused by the terms
I am always pleasantly surprised whenever I come across a marine painting by a woman from the 19th or early 20th century. In those days the world of European art was dominated by men. And only few women, such as Leontine von Littrow, who managed to break into this male enclave had a significant ouput of marine art. This makes such works by female artists even more interesting and important.
A radiant moon above the sea is tantalisingly beautiful. But just as enthralling is the moonglade, the reflection of the moon’s light on an expanse of water. The beauty of shimmering water on a moonlit night has inspired numberous works of art…