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Unelaborated marine art: In praise of simplicity

A work of art can be striking on account of its very simplicity.

One example is Theodore Roussel’s ‘The Sea at Bognor’ (pictured above), which is the completed version of a set of nine colour prints the artist made in 1895. Some people might call such art minimalism, which would not be accurate. “Minimalism,” Tate Britain points out, “is an extreme form of abstract art developed in the USA in the 1960s and typified by artworks composed of simple geometric shapes based on the square and the rectangle.”

A nostalgic look at pilot boats of yore through art

The centuries-old history of maritime pilotage is not only about the hardy spirits who help manoeuvre ships through rivers and channels and into and out of ports. It is also about their boats. Although a pilot’s job has remained unchanged, pilot boats have undergone a slow but dramatic evolution. Gone are the sail– and steam–powered types, but they will forever be remembered through old prints and paintings.

Artists’ salute to the USS Constitution (‘Old Ironsides’)

Known by her byname Old Ironsides, the American frigate Constitution can be rightfully called the grande dame of world naval history.

Launched in Boston, Massachusetts, on 21st October 1797, the USS Constitution led American naval forces to victory in the First Barbary War ((1801–05) between the United States and Tripoli (now Libya). She went on to greater glory in the War of 1812, sinking or capturing four British warships. Refusing to bow out of the naval stage, she is today the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.

The Nautical Shop: Loving the maritime world

Marine Café Blog recently launched The Nautical Shop especially for readers who are involved in shipping and allied fields. The whole idea was inspired by the fact that seafarers, harbour pilots and other marine professionals take great pride in what they do. Why not honour them by coming up with merchandise items that highlight their work and their role in the shipping world ?

River romance: The Seine in poetry, song and painting

The Seine River in France runs for 780 kilometres (485 miles) — shorter than the country’s longest river, the Loire (1,020 kilometres or 634 miles). But it is the beloved river of Paris and one of Europe’s great historic rivers. And like other great rivers such as the Volga and the Mississippi, it has, through the centuries, held a strong fascination for creative spirits — poets, musical composers and artists. The stream of inspiration has never stopped flowing.

A visual treat: Vintage posters with a maritime theme

Poster artists tend to be second-class citizens in the world of art. This is not surprising. No matter how skillfully designed, posters are seen as mere marketing tools. They do not quite belong to the lofty sphere of “art” as people usually regard the term.

Yet, there are posters that are veritable works of art. The vintages ones are also historically significant is inasmuch as they serve as windows to a bygone epoch. For these reasons, they earn the status of collectable items.

Charles de Lacy: Consummate British marine artist

Charles John de Lacy (1856–1929) may not be as widely acclaimed as Joseph Mallord William Turner, England’s most beloved artist known for his turbulent seascapes. It is even hard to find a photograph of him online. De Lacy, however, clearly belongs to the pantheon of British marine artists. He was such a skilled painter that he was regularly commissioned by the UK shipbuilding firm, Armstrong Whitworth.

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