Browse our collection of seascape paintings for sale or available to rent online today. We’re home to some of the most exciting contemporary seascape painters who are producing energetic, striking portraits of the sea in a variety of styles, including impressionistic seascapes and figurative seascapes.
Alison Johnson’s piece, Rollercoaster, which echoes Turner’s violent portraits of the sea. The landscape artist captures powerful, curling waves in which the colour blue alternates with dark vacuums. This ominous undercurrent is continued in Aspects of Force and The Jets but her other landscapes are a nod to the eerie calm that is also present on the British coastline.
Kazakhstani artist Yuliya Martynova also finds calm in seascapes. But her watercolours are serene and peaceful, unlike Johnson’s oils. Instead, in Blue Bay she paints a portrait of multi-tonal blue, punctuated only by two distant yachts. This is not Turner’s sea, placing man in mortal danger, but the kind holidaymakers dream about; infused with a sense of escapism.
Martynova’s seascapes are dripping in blue, whereas Nadia Day finds calm in the coast’s colourlessness on a grey day. In her piece Wonder, that greyness is animated by her choppy brushstrokes and the glinting reflection of a man and his son looking out to sea.
Although the art form has been documented as far back as Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, it was during the 17th century’s Dutch Golden Age that seascapes emerged as their own distinctive style. Dutch seascape painters such as Jan Porcellis and Jan van de Cappelle responded to an era where the Dutch navy was at the peak of its glory – making money from a booming sea trade in between battles with the British Navy – by using maritime art to depict their country’s grand Tall Ships, navigating an unpredictable ocean, cloaked in sea spray and atmosphere.
Artists’ obsession with sea scenes that pitted tiny sailors against towering waves continued through the 18th century and into the Romantic Age. JMW Turner was more obsessed than most, painting around 1,000 seascapes in his lifetime. For him, the ocean became a way to examine themes such as The Sublime and nature’s power over mankind. The Romantic painter would use light, dark and colour to seesaw between visions of the ocean as a tranquil place punctuated by pink-hued horizons and a black and violent backdrop onto which human strength – particularly the strength of fishermen – met its limits.