Setting Sail: Images of the Sea from the Collection on View at the Walters Art Museum


BALTIMORE, MD.- Setting Sail features drawings, paintings, and prints of ships, sailors and the sea from the permanent collection of the Walters. The sea, and the men and women who make their living from it, have provided subjects for art from ancient times until the present day. In the 19th century, under the influence of Romanticism, the sea took on a new emotional resonance, becoming a metaphor for the overwhelming power of nature. This tendency can be seen in the expressive brushwork and somber palette Jacques Dupré (1811–89) used to paint At Sea, an image of boats beset by choppy waves. At the same time, in an era of global expansion, the world’s oceans were of unparalleled economic importance. Artists were able to draw on a long tradition of maritime painting to depict the strength and enterprise of nations. A number of the works in Setting Sail explore the theme of naval conflict, from a painting by Pierre Nicolas