The Herring Net

The Herring Net
Artist Winslow Homer
Year 1885
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection
Dimensions 30 1/8 x 48 3/8 in.
76.5 x 122.9 cm
Famous Paintings by Winslow Homer
Snap the Whip
The Gulf Stream
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)
Right and Left
The Fox Hunt
Eight Bells
The Life Line
The Herring Net
The Blue Boat
Complete Works

Winslow Homer moved to Prout’s Neck, Maine, in 1883 where he began to make history by painting some of the most powerful and enduring images of the sea ever created by an artist. The Herring Net is a superb example of Homer’s powerful ability to capture not only images of the ocean, but man’s place and ancient relationship with it.

Powerful Naturalism

The Herring Net depicts a man and a boy heavily clad in seamen’s wet gear and heavy caps as they pull a net loaded with glistening silver herring from the sea. The ocean is rough and choppy, and the day looks hazy. On the horizon are the dim outlines of the sails of ships.

Man vs. Nature

The fisherman and boy are hunkered down in great labor. As the man hauls in the net, the boy unloads the catch into the boat. The boy is depicted sitting precariously on the edge of the gunwale. They look to be in precarious waters almost in a dangerous situation, yet we get the impression that the gritty strength and experience of these salty seamen are equal to the task. This work was completed in 1895.

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