Susan here. Summer at last, warm and sunny (at the moment, thundery and rainy), soon to get even hotter, kids are on summer break — adults should be too! So here's a quick summer break for you: a gallery of some of my favorite summer-themed artworks — bright, beautiful images that evoke a sense of summer, of heat and sunlight, sea breezes, lazy days, roses and sunlight and a touch of fun. If it's summer where you are, I hope you'll be able to find time to rest and soak up some warmth and sunlight for yourself!
The ancients loved summer too — this is part of a Roman mural from the Villa of Livia, now in the Palazzo Massimo (National Roman Museum, Rome). In the original villa, this mural spanned the walls of one room with a peaceful panorama of fruit trees, flowers, birds, and blue skies.
Summer in early 15th century France in the Limbourg Brothers' Les Tres Riches Heures, where peasants work the fields and care for the sheep, while the nobility enjoy an outing (those long satin and woll robes must have been awfully warm!)
And a jump to the 19th century … my favorite century for summer scenes, when artists played freely with color and light, foundational drawing and texture as well as theme, exploring lush new ways to express the sensations of the seasons ….
Above: Though he worked in the late 19th century and is best known for his gorgeous, romantic medieval-esque images, Edmund Blair Leighton was fond of the Georgian and Regency eras too, and produced beautiful, poignant images like this one – "Summer Roses."
Claude Monet, The Beach at Argentuil. Monet was a master of using paint texture and color to build a sense of climate, depth, light, and air, and his summer scenes convey an immediate sense of heat hanging in the air, and baking sunlight!
Two paintings by the brilliant Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla, who was a master of light – he made sunlight palpable, hot, blinking bright, atmospheric.
Danish painter Peder Kroyer was one of the "Skagen" painters, artists who went to the seaside resort, Skagen, and captured the brilliance of the sea and summer light on their canvases. Below, he evokes a summer evening on the beach, where the light dims, the moon glows, water sparkles, and air cools.
And here, Kroyer gives us a lush summer garden on a warm day, and a shady nook in which to read — a perfect spot!
"It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside."
- Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib
And one more for our Aussie friends, whose summer is not quite the same as in the northern hemisphere! Australian artist Frederick McCubbin was a gifted painter, here conjuring the quiet coolness of a winter morning downunder in June ….