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The sea has always been an important theme in the world of art in general and in painting in particular. In the times of ancient Greece, marine motifs decorated amphoras and other everyday objects. Over time, great painters as Canaletto, Willem van de Velde the Elder, Claude Joseph Vernet, Turner, Ivan Aivazovsky, Hokusai, Manet, Monet, Sorolla, Homer, Childe Hassam and Joaquín Mir dedicated much of his work to depicting seascapes.
Despite the popularity of this artistic subject since antiquity, we would have to wait to the final period of the Middle Ages for seascapes to become an independent genre, thanks to specialized artists.
During the Renaissance there was a hiatus as far as this genre is concerned. Later, during the seventeenth century Dutch painters gave to the seascape a place of honor thanks to the development of foreign trade and the growing importance of the country´s naval strengh. Later, British painting incorporated the seascape theme as a way to, in turn, reflect their own naval strengh. From this stage, we can name artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Joachim Patinir and Rembrandt.
Romanticism recovered seascapes and coast themes, giving as a result a place to some of the best painters of this genre: Théodore Géricault, Turner and Caspar David Friedrich.
During the nineteenth century other countries joined the tradition of marine painting, such as Russia and the United States, which produced significant schools of landscapists, with special emphasis on marine themes: Leon Dabo must be pointed out as a representative painter of this period.
Meanwhile, new painting currents born in France, such as 'plein air' and Impressionism incorporated new techniques and perspectives in the field of seascapes, which can be seen in the work of Paul Gauguin and Sorolla.
Current artists who work with this genre generally follow the guidelines and principles established by the Dutch school.