As a pure fascination for artists, nature and its magnificent shapes have preoccupied many authors over the centuries. The sunset paintings which will be showcased in this article display just how versatile the approach to nature for many authors is. Be it as a detailed drawing, pure play of color, glorious landscape paintings, or as a suggestive abstraction, the sunset paintings are always much more than the depiction of the day ending. This idea of the end, which fascinates almost everyone, finds its metaphor in the sunset. On the other hand, the shift of the light and the glorious color combinations which occur in nature, for the few is close to kitsch art and it is no wonder that many would say that there is no greater painter then Nature herself.
With the birth of Impressionism, artists opted to showcase the idea of the reality, its impression rather than the realistic depiction. This opened up many possibilities for painters who are interested in landscape paintings especially in the en plain air method. Through the use of color, we may guess what was the day like during the moment the painter painted his image, what emotions ran through him and if they saw the world as a great place.
Featured image in slider:Vincent van Gogh - Summer Evening Wheatfield with Setting Sun. Image via wallpaper.com; Claude Monet - The Cliff, Eretat, Sunset. Image via dailymail.co.uk
The self-thought painter, Winslow Homer, became one of the best-known authors of American scenes of outdoor life. Starting as an apprentice in a printmaking studio, Winslow began his professional art career as an illustrator. The watercolor, next to oil, became the medium of his choice. Adoring nature and all its glory, Winslow produced numerous wildlife landscapes, images of children at play, and rural African American life in the post-Civil War era. As his career evolved the painter turned more and more to the sea and to the depiction of the eternal struggle between man and nature. His painting Sunset showcases such adoration and offers us a tranquil feeling of the day that is ending in work yet at the same time repose.
Featured image: Winslow Homer - Sunset. Image via pinterest.com
Known as one of the most expressive artists of the 20th-century, Vincent van Gogh created numerous paintings of nature which he painted outdoor. In direct contact with his surroundings, many, if not all of his paintings are both a symbolic representation of his emotions and of the world. His painting Willows at Sunset, believed to have been done primarily as a sketch for another piece, displays the artist’s fiery nature. The violent brushstrokes and the thick application of paint suggest that the painting was done in haste as if trying to capture the descent of the burning Sun who holds in this image almost an iconic importance.
Featured image: Vincent van Gogh - Willows at Sunset. Image via wikimedia.org
This repetition of Vincent Van Gogh for sure has its reasons. As we have mentioned above, considered as one of the greatest painters, his inner turmoil transmitted onto his canvases making them one of the most precious artworks. The world of extremes with a keen eye for beauty and its essence is celebrated in his painting Sunset at Montmajour. If we attempt now to define and describe this work, we would be unjust to it so we leave the description to Vincent van Gogh himself. In one of his many letters to his brother Theo, the painter wrote this:
"Yesterday, at sunset, I was on a stony heath where very small, twisted oaks grow, in the background a ruin on the hill, and wheatfields in the valley. It was romantic, it couldn’t be more so, à la Monticelli, the sun was pouring its very yellow rays over the bushes and the ground, absolutely a shower of gold. And all the lines were beautiful, the whole scene had a charming nobility. You wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see knights and ladies suddenly appear, returning from hunting with hawks, or to hear the voice of an old Provençal troubadour. The fields seemed purple, the distances blue.”
Featured image: Vincent van Gogh - Sunset at Montmajour. Image via wikimedia.org
The original title of the iconic painting The Scream, painted by the German expressionist artist, Edvard Munch was, in fact, The Scream of Nature. Depicting an anguished figure in a setting which is dominated by the vibrant red and orange color, the image displays the split between the figure and its surrounding. One of the theories accounting for the use of these two colors in the background is the artist’s memory of the effects of the powerful volcano eruption of Krakatoa. Famed as one of the most important screams of art history, the image is also a depiction of the day’s end which reflects and symbolizes the disconnect with oneself.
Featured image: Edvard Munch - The Scream. Image vie widewalls.ch
As the father of the Impressionist movement, a style of painting which promoted the idea of painting outdoor the term en plain air was born. It was the famous Claude Monet who was the first to bring us artists’ impressions of the world rather than the realistic and detailed portrayal of the same. Considered to even be the pioneer of abstract art ideas, Monet was also praised for his depictions of the changing light and the ephemeral quality of time. His painting The Houses of Parliament offer us an atmospheric image of the world’s light as the day comes to an end. As Monet frequently worked with the same subject matter over a period of time, maybe we can describe this image as the diary of light.
Featured image: Claude Monet - The Houses of Parliament, Sunset, detail. Image via widewalls.ch
At one point in his life, Claude Monet claimed that he wished he might share the experience of a blind person suddenly granted the power of sight. He was even cited to have said, to his neighbor in Giverny that a painter should forget what object one has before him and to concentrate on the essence of color. It is just through these two statements that one needs to view Monet’s painting Sunset in Venice. Painted at a period in his life when he began to lose his eyesight, the painting is a true masterpiece of color and a testimony to his advice. Monet looked for the shapes the colors in fact make, and these aided him to produce the image which depicts the setting Sun across the Venice lagoon.
Featured image: Claude Monet - Sunset in Venice. Image via wikimedia.org
Recognized as a mother of American modernism, Georgia O’Keeffe is best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. One of her main goals was to abstract the natural world in order to make it even more appealing and her production is frequently associated with the history of abstract landscapes. Such is the case with her painting Sunset, Long Island where by the help of simple and flat, almost monochromatic surfaces the image of the setting Sun dipping into the water of Hudson river stands before us.
Featured image: Georgia O'Keffee - Sunset, Long Island. Image via wallpaper.com
As yet another artist interested in abstracting nature, David Hockney’s painting Northern Sunset shows uncharacteristically lavish representation of the midnight Sun in Norway. Regardless of the cold setting, this painting radiates the warmth of the Sun and its magnificent entrance into the deep blue water. This painting, along with various other images which showcase the unnaturally colored and grand landscapes remain the arguable highlight of Hockney’s artwork. Considered as the most influential British painters of the 20th-century, David Hockney always embraced the change of style and subject matter that his art pushed him in and as such was always promoting freedom and individuality.
Featured image: David Hockney - Northern Sunset. Image via pinterest.com
Shepard Fairey is known as an icon of American contemporary art whose images can be found on t-shirts, posters, walls, and even clothing. Unlike the rest of the artists on this list, Fairey offers to us a Sunset lithography print combined with elements of collage as well. Produced as part of the series which celebrates the Earth day, the print attempts to bring awareness of ecological issues which are taking over the planet on a global scale.
Featured image: Shepard Fairey - Evolve DeEvolve. Image via pinterest.com
The famous Belgian painter Koen van den Broek uses filmmaker Fellini’s guidelines as an important element for his very distinctive style of painting. His images convey the dramatic tension of a filmic image with intense narrative. The story is often left open to interpretation, as is the case in his painting Sunset. We are not sure if the figure, watching his hometown from a distance is facing a new day or is saying goodbye.
Featured image: Koen van den Broek - Sunset. Image via pinterest.com