Finding the Mysteries in Mermaid Paintings

Most of us learned about mermaids through Disney’s Ariel, right? A sweet redhead that will go to every length to be with the love of her life. However, the original tale of mermaids is different from Disney’s.

In folklore, mermaids are powerful and dangerous mythical aquatic creatures. They have a human’s torso, upper body, and the lower body of a scaley fish with long fins. Physically, they look beautiful, enchanting, and sensual. However, mythologically, they are dangerous creatures who distract the sailors in the sea. Mermaids lure the sailors with their seductive voices to cause shipwrecks or suicides.

Like other mythological creatures, mermaids also caught the attention of artists because of their mysterious personalities. This article will show five mesmerizing mermaid paintings that will leave you amazed. 

5 Mysterious Mermaid Paintings

Painters have always taken inspiration from the fantasy world. They use their innovative imagination and colors to portray folklore creatures. Sometimes, the paintings are so mysterious that viewers keep thinking about their actual meanings. 

The mermaid has a long and rich history in folklore, art, and literature. From the sirens of Greek mythology to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, these creatures have captured our imaginations with their beauty and mystery.

Let’s look at some mermaid paintings and find the mysteries behind them!

A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse

This is a 1900 mermaid painting portraying a redhead sitting on the rocks and combing her hair. John William Waterhouse was intrigued by the story of mermaids in folklore; they were beautiful yet lonely. They craved love and the human world, but these things were forbidden. 

This painting is not just showing a beautiful mermaid. Instead, it portrays her loneliness. She didn’t ask to be a fearful aquatic creature. Instead, the mermaid is singing away her sorrow sitting in a cave with a bowl of pearls. According to mythology, these pearls symbolize the tears of dead sailors.

A Mysterious Mermaid by Howard Pyle

A mysterious mermaid is an unfinished business of Howard Pyle-he left the world before completing it. This mermaid painting left people wondering about the real meaning behind it. Is the person going in or coming out of the water? Did the mermaid rescue her? All the answers went with Pyle.

Though a student finished this painting later, nobody knew about Pyle’s thoughts. This painting portrays the forbidden love, passion, and helplessness between the mermaid and her human lover. 

A Mermaid Being Mobbed by Seagulls by Giovanni Segantini

Giovanni is an Italian painter famous for his symbolic artwork. This painting is one of his best creations, portraying a mermaid being mobbed by Seagulls. The seagulls are trying to lift and take the mermaid with them. 

The high waves in the painting perfectly portray the disastrous situation and the mermaid’s feelings. Despite being a powerful creature, she is helpless in front of the seagulls. This painting is a perfect example of symbolism. 

Sea Maidens by Evelyn de Morgan

The painting is based on the Hans Christian’s story “The Little Mermaid”. The little mermaid desperately wants to be human, so she can live with her lover, but to do that, she must give up her beautiful tail and fins.

This oil painting references Ariel from the book and her sisters. They are helping her little sister Ariel to unite with her human love. However, this painting is not only limited to the fairytale. 

Can you see that every maiden has the same face? Well, the model for this painting was Evelyn’s one true love, Jane Hales. He was in a romantic relationship with her. The painter was so in love with the woman that he got buried next to her and her husband. That’s the real mystery.  

The Village of the Mermaids by Paul Delvaux

Mermaid Painting

You won’t be able to spot mermaids while looking at this painting for the first time. Instead, you will see a few women wearing long dresses, sitting down. But, as you look closely, you will see in the background that many mermaids are making their way to the sea. Most of them are getting ready to leave by the seashore.

In reality, this painting is about a dream of Paul Delvaux. The truth behind this mermaid painting is somewhat confusing. The women sitting down are one version of the mermaids, in which they hide their true forms by wearing long dresses. In the background, we see their true side, with their long tailfins.

Final Words

The mermaid is one of the most iconic creatures in literature and art. She’s been a muse for some of the greatest artists and writers, from Hans Christian Andersen to Walt Disney. Even today, she inspires modern artists with her mythological allure and mysterious beauty.

And it’s not just paintings that feature this aquatic siren-she’s also been immortalized in sculpture, music, photography, and even tattoos! So if you’re looking for an artistic way to connect with your inner mermaid spirit, these works of art are sure to inspire you.

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