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Art Gallery

The Sea

Sea Maidens

20th Century

This seascape depicts a fantasy world. In the early stages of his career, Blacklock had painted mainly landscapes but from the mid 1890s he began to include fairy-like figures in these scenes. He began to focus on making his landscapes into suitable environments for these strange creatures rather than on achieving a realist depiction of a specific place. 


The green waters inhabited by the sea maidens is convincing and enticing  but as the eye moves towards the horizon the space becomes confused. Rocks divide the sea in two with a large expanse of blue water beyond. It is difficult to see where the waters meet around the rocks, and Blacklock avoids making this explicit with a very painterly rendering of the area.


The lighting is also unusual. There is a sphere hanging just above the horizon which could be the sun or the moon. However, the bright yellow of the rocks suggests that there is also a gentle sunlight coming from behind the viewer. It is perhaps a little strange that this light fails to also catch on the water or the sea maidens in the foreground.

oil on canvas
810 x 1020mm
The Dick Institute
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East Ayrshire Council