It can be argued that the mermaid paintings are one of the most famous and well-known mythical creatures on the entire planet. Although they are figments of the imagination, you can ask virtually anyone, young or old, and they will be able to tell you exactly what a mermaid is and what it represents.
The myth of the mermaid is almost as old as culture itself. As humans began to travel the seas, stories and eventually entire folklore emerged in the form of a fascinating humanoid sea creature. Some of these stories told of benevolent creatures, while others told of mermaids with evil intentions who lured men to their doom.
Mermaids are also associated with storms, shipwrecks, and floods. Ultimately, however, the mermaid’s lasting impression comes from Greek mythology, which tells of a cunning creature who seeks love and attention at the cost of human life.
The Mermaid By John William Waterhouse
John William Waterhouse was a good artist who specialized in Myths and paintings based on European myths and legends. Three common themes can be found in virtually all of Waterhouse’s paintings. is a mythological form, especially in ancient Greece. Two, the presence of women, and three, the style of Neoclassical painting.
The third aspect is fascinating because Waterhouse was a late 18th and early 19th-century painter. During this time, most painters moved away from the classical style in favor of impressionism or expressionism. But on the other hand, Waterhouse was part of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, which aimed to bring back the old ways of painting.
A legend Waterhouse himself was drawn to mermaids. He painted many paintings of mysterious creatures and is considered one of the foremost painters of the genre. For example, in his 1901 painting simply titled The Mermaid, a beautiful red-headed mermaid sits on the beach combing her hair. Many believe that this mermaid painting may have inspired the Disney movie, The Little Mermaid.
Dance Of The Sea By Charles Edward Bourbon
French painter Charles-Edouard Boutebon is another modernist artist who favored painting in the aesthetics of classicism. His paintings are so classically inspired that you’d be forgiven for thinking they have painted centuries ago.
Bourbon is also an example of an artist who prioritized quality over quantity. Like artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Boutibon completed only a handful of paintings during his lifetime. This patient mentality is evident in the French artist’s attention to detail in his paintings, and each one must have taken a lot of work and time to complete.
The Mermaid By Howard Pyle
Another fine example of a mermaid-themed painting is the masterpiece of the same name by American artist Howard Pyle. Unfortunately, the painting itself is considered incomplete. Nonetheless, it is considered one of the greatest mermaid paintings of all time.
This beautifully arresting painting evokes deep primal emotions such as love and hope. The painting works as if it were a scene straight from a book or movie. A lonely man is stranded at sea after a shipwreck.
Scared and alone, things look hopeless as night falls on him. Then, suddenly, from the sea of dangerous foam, a beautiful mermaid emerges from the water, and the two embrace each other tenderly in the moonlight. Payal does a great job here of portraying the mystical nature of the creatures known as mermaids.
The Siren by Edward Matthew Hale
English Romantic painter Edward Matthew Hale was another artist interested in sea and mermaid symbols. Numerous paintings feature mermaids, and Hale captures their beauty and mystery wonderfully.
Her painting titled Siren focuses on the more dangerous component of mermaids. The painting depicts a struggle between several sailors on a small ship as they are attacked by a group of mermaids. Even a mermaid boldly tries to stop the sailor from the ship.
It is similar to another of Hale’s wonderful mermaid paintings, Mermaid’s Rock. Although the mermaid’s intentions in this painting are more civilized and ambiguous, in the siren painting it is clear that the mermaid wants to drag men into her torment.
The Shipwrecked Man And The Sea By Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham’s drawings are full of liveliness, character, color, and a strong sense of imagination and fantasy. His shipwrecked man and mermaid painting of the sea is a good example. In the drawing, a man encounters a giant mermaid that stands between him and his ship.
The mermaid’s height represents the power of the ocean as it shakes the ship under its wake. This is just one of Rackham’s wonderful mermaid-themed paintings. Check out her other mermaid and marine-themed paintings, such as Jewels from the Deep and The Rhine Fair Children, and they are well worth a look.
The Bottom Line
Mermaids make for a truly fascinating and inspiring theme, so it’s no surprise that they have repeatedly appeared as a central focus in art and literature. They mean many things to many cultures, mostly though they are symbols of beauty worthy of adorning your wall.,