Sunday, January 23, 2011
The Gulf Stream
One of my favorite works by one of my favorite artists, The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer, depicts a sailor adrift in a mighty sea. He's on a tiny boat with a broken mast, surrounded by hungry sharks, with only sugar cane to sustain him. In the distance to the right is a looming water spout, which could potentially be his demise. In the distance to the left, is a far off ship which could potentially be his salvation. What I find constantly enigmatic about this painting is the attitude of the sailor himself. Despite his unenviable situation, he appears seemingly nonchalant. He's lounging comfortably on the deck, gazing off to the side, apparently ignoring all the dangers immediately surrounding him. I believe the sailor's attitude is what makes the expression of this subject unique. If he was scared, nervous, or even excited, this painting would probably be nothing special, but just like Mona Lisa's smile, The Gulf Stream always leaves me guessing what secret the subject knows.