Monday Morning Art School: ten great fog paintings

I thought about giving you some rules for painting fog, and then thought again: why not let the masters show you themselves? The hard part was winnowing it down to ten.

Waterloo Bridge. Effect of Fog, 1903, Claude Monet, courtesy Hermitage Museum. Part of a series of 41 paintings capturing London’s Waterloo Bridge engulfed in fog, showcasing Monet’s fascination with atmospheric effects.
Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket, 1875, James McNeill Whistler, courtesy Detroit Institute of Arts. This nocturne painting features a distant fireworks display against a foggy night sky, showcasing Whistler’s mastery of tone and atmosphere.
Fog, Voisins, 1874, Alfred Sisley, courtesy Musée d’Orsay. An Impressionist landscape painting portraying a misty morning in the French countryside. It’s a more intimate view than most fog paintings.
Fog Warning, 1885, Winslow Homer, courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This realistic painting depicts a fisherman rowing his boat through foggy waters, evoking the very real danger of being caught out in the fog in the Gulf of Maine.
Charing Cross Bridge, Claude Monet, 1903, courtesy Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. One of a series of 37 paintings of this bridge in various fog conditions. Are you sensing a theme here about Monet’s capacity for hard work?
Snowstorm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps, 1810-12, J.M.W. Turner, courtesy the Tate. While primarily focused on a snowstorm, this painting also captures the foggy atmosphere surrounding the mountains.
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, c. 1817, Caspar David Friedrich, courtesy Hamburger Kunsthalle. I’ve mentioned this painting so many times I was almost reluctant to use it again, but it is a definitive fog painting. He did so many of them that his entire oeuvre is worth studying.
Grand Canyon (Mist in the Canyon), 1915, Thomas Moran, courtesy Palm Springs Art Museum. Moran’s work is Romantic in that he idealizes nature as a spiritual and moral force. On this relatively small canvas, he still succeeds in capturing the monumental scale of the Grand Canyon.
Stetind in Fog, Peder Balke, 1864, courtesy National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. This Romantic painting sets the austere peak against the turbulent waters of Tysfjord.
Impression, Sunrise, 1872, Claude Monet, courtesy Musée Marmottan Monet. The masterpiece that gave rise to the Impressionist movement, portraying a foggy morning at Le Havre’s port with stunning use of light and color.

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