5 Watery Paintings You Can Step into in Real-life

Rivers are the lifeblood of many cities and make the perfect spot for sightseeing, picnicking, taking a stroll or even a cruise. However, it’s not just tourists that have been captivated by these magical sights.

Some of the world’s most renowned artists have immortalized these river scenes in beautiful paintings.

Take a trip back in time and step right into these famous works of art by visiting the real-life locations of these notorious bridges.

Here are 5 creations that have captured the essence of some of the world’s most iconic rivers and bridges alongside their real-life settings.

1) Starry Night Over the Rhone, Van Gogh

Starry Night Over the Rhone” by Van Gogh.

Real-life Setting: Arles, France.

A starry night over the Rhone. Photo by anniejay.

Painted in 1888, Van Gogh’s image of the night sky over the Rhone depicts a view from Arles and contrasts the darkness of the evening against the gas lamps lighting a path along the river.

Capturing the night sky was of significant interest to Van Gogh who wrote, “Often it seems to me night is even more richly colored than day.” His fascination with the time after dusk is as also shown in the “Café Terrace at Night.”

The “Starry Night Over the Rhone” was also a prelude to one of Van Gogh’s most famous works, the “Starry Night,” which was produced while he was in an asylum in Arles.

2) Rialto Bridge, Maurice Prendergast

“Rialto Bridge” by Maurice Prendergast.

Real-life Setting: Venice, Italy.

Rialto Bridge, photo by Darren and Brad.

Maurice Prendergast was a Post-Impressionism artist born in Newfoundland but moved to Boston with his family when he was a child. When art took hold of his life he spent periods training and painting in Paris and Venice.

Much of Prendergast’s early work focused on beaches, parks and leisure scenes and was heavily influenced by the inclusion of large numbers of people within each painting. During Prendergast’s second trip to Venice in 1912, he painted his famous work of the Rialto Bridge.

Prendergast was considered to be one of the most progressive artists of his day and attracted the attention of many modern art collectors.

3) Waterloo Bridge, Claude Monet

“Waterloo Bridge” by Claude Monet.

Real-life Setting: London, UK.

The Waterloo Bridge. Photo by Kuan-Ting.

The fog that swirled along the banks of the River Thames at the turn of the 20th century in London captured the imagination of Claude Monet, who used the city’s river and bridges as the subject for many of his paintings.

With a view of Waterloo Bridge from his room at the Savoy Hotel, Monet produced a number of impressions of the bridge against the varying lights of London’s sky.

His paintings of the bridge were created between 1900 and 1904, the period preceding his focus on water lilies. It is thought that Monet would start many of his bridge paintings simultaneously and complete them according to the varying lighting changes of London’s smoggy air.

It was apparent that it was the light that was of most interest to Monet who said, “Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat . . . I want to paint the beauty of the air in which these objects are located.”

4) Pont du Carrousel with Louvre, Van Gogh

“Pont du Carrousel with Louvre” by Van Gogh.

Real-life Setting: Paris, France.

The Pont du Carrousel. Photo by Demeester.

Painted in 1886, Van Gogh’s oil on canvas captures three iconic images of Paris: the Seine, the Pont du Carrousel and the Louvre museum.

This picture was created when Van Gogh first moved to Paris and was painted only one year after he had produced his first famous picture, the “Potato Eaters.” It was also painted at a point when his work focused on dull tones and lacked the wealth of vivid colors he became famed for.

“Pont du Carrousel with Louvre” was also notably painted before he reached Arles, in 1888, a period that led to him becoming institutionalized.

5) Brooklyn Bridge, Edward Ellis Redfield

Brooklyn Bridge by Edward Willis Redfield.

Real-life Setting: Brooklyn, New York.

Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by LeSimonPix ★.

Edward Redfield was an American Impressionist painter best known for capturing the essence of landscapes.

He was also one of the first artists to paint the readily identifiable image of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge has become an iconic symbol of New York, well known around the world and Redfield’s 1909 oil on canvas captured a view of the bridge that remains relevant over 100 years later.

Moving to France to study at Academie Julian and Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Redfield was exposed to the work of Claude Monet and Camille Pissaro.

Upon his return to the United States, Redfield became known as a painter for his application of bold color. He was also well known for his skill to paint plain air, within the open air of nature.

From the sights of the Seine to the iconic struts of the Brooklyn Bridge, which of these paintings have you stepped into? Let me know in the comments below.

If you liked this article, you might also like: 12 Famous Paintings and their Real-Life Locations.

Main Image: “Brooklyn Bridge” by Edward Willis Redfield.

10 thoughts on “5 Watery Paintings You Can Step into in Real-life”

  1. Spectacular images. Though I haven’t seen most of these rivers firsthand, the paintings give me a chance to feel a little bit of what it’s like to be there. Starry Night Over the Rhone gets me every time. Beautiful post.

  2. What a great idea for a post. I love it. And that you have been to all these places is wonderful. Lucky you!

  3. Pont de Caroursel, Waterloo Bridge & the Rialto bridge are what I’ve personally exprienced.

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