Somehow, each year seems to be worse than the last. Whether it be a global pandemic, a war, systematic oppressions, or the state of the climate, there’s always something that makes our lives harder, days less peaceful, and satisfaction sink. That’s not even mentioning your toxic ex, ungrateful boss, or meddling mother-in-law.
In 2021, a report showed that over 80% of people aged 16-65 use the internet as a primary source of their access to the news. It’s no wonder that now we can have access to the internet 24/7 through our phones, smart watches, and laptops, that we find ourselves more and more in doom scroll mode.
Art has always had a potential for healing, expanding, and soothing us. Here are 10 artworks that we hope can bring a moment of peace and stillness to your day.
Water Lilies – Edouard Monet, 1906
Monet’s Water Lilies series of around 250 oil paintings showing the lilypads of his Giverny home is a worldwide favourite. The collection was the main focus of the last 30 years of Monet’s life and are wonderfully soothing.
Flaming June – Frederic Lord Leighton, 1895
When we’re feeling stressed we like to imagine that we’re wearing a fabulous gown and taking a nap by the ocean, too. The painting has an interesting history, and there are plenty of legends about what happened to it during the 60 years when it disappeared in the 20th Century.
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose – John Singer Sargent, 1885-6
This painting shows the two daughters of the artist Frederick Barnard lighting paper lanterns in a wild and blooming garden in the Cotswolds. The warm glow of the lanterns and the light pinks of the flowers standing against the impending darkness give this work such a comforting quality.
The Plum Garden in Kameido – Utagawa Hiroshige, 1857
We love the deep colours of this woodblock print, and the romance of the blooming cherry blossoms. This work was part of a series by Hiroshige showing the must-see places in Tokyo, and we’d like nothing more than to be one of the members of the public strolling through the garden background when live gets a bit too much.
Landscape with Rainbow – Robert S Duncanson, 1859
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, picture yourself as one of the couple who walk through this enormous idyllic landscape. This painting shows everything in harmony, and instills a great sense of calm.
Series 1, No. 8 – Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918
The colours of this painting really have the power to reinvigorate and reset your emotions. O’Keeffe spent years explaining that there was nothing yonic going on in her abstract and flower paintings, and yet the interpretation has persisted. We don’t mind.
Summertime – Mary Cassatt, 1894
Oh to be floating on a river on a warm summer day, chatting to some ducks. Cassatt was the only American artist to exhibit with the Impressionist group and was described as one of “les trois grandes dames” along with Bracquemond and Morisot.
The Bed – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892
The models in this work are two female sex workers, sharing a loving and intimate moment. The painting reminds us that at the end of even the worst day, our bed is there waiting for us. And maybe, if we’re lucky, someone else…
Author: Verity Babbs