Published on Dec 10, 2019

Watercolor Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

It is thought that people used watercolors to draw images on the walls of caves in Palaeolithic times. The ancient Egyptians created manuscript illustrations with natural pigments dissolved in water. True watercolor artists, however, appeared much later – during the Renaissance in Europe. Now we can enjoy the spectacular masterpieces of many famous artists created from the 16th century to present times.

Albrecht DΓΌrer is the first well known watercolor artist. He worked in Germany during the Renaissance and created masterpieces such as Young Hare and Castle Segonzano. Another German Renaissance artist, Hans Bol, started an entire watercolor school. One of his most notable works is Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.

The watercolor artists who worked during the Baroque era include were Van Dyck, Claude Lorrain and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. It is important to note that these artists used primarily oil paints to paint on canvas. However, they also created beautiful works on paper using watercolors.


The most notable watercolor school was established in England in the 18th century. Many watercolor artists worked during this time mainly because their professional services were highly sought after by various exploration expeditions and the military. Thomas Gainsborough, Francis Towne and William Pars were some of the most distinguished representative of this school.

Paul Sandby is known as the father of English watercolor. He established this medium of painting as a comprehensive separate discipline. Thomas Girtin is known for his romantic and dreamy landscapes. Joseph Mallord William Turner remains one of the most productive watercolor artists to this day. He created historical, mythological and architectural paintings many of which are preserved to this day.

Notable 19 century English and American watercolor artists include John James Audubon, William Trost Richards, Fidelia Bridges and Thomas Moran. Winslow Homer created true masterpieces of this art medium. His most famous works include After the Hurricane, Bahamas, and Santiago de Cuba: Street Scene, and Perils of the Sea.

Paul Signac and Paul Cezanne created unique watercolor works during the 19th century. Cezanne used a unique technique which involved the overlapping of small glazes of color. One of his most famous watercolor works is a self portrait.

Watercolor artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde, Dong Kingman and Milford Zornes created fascinated works in the first half of the 20th century. Famous modern artists using this medium who worked in and after the 1950’s Joseph Raffael, Philip Pearlstein, Eric Fischl, Anselm Kiefer and Ignacio Barrios.

At present, you can find a wide range of superb works from contemporary watercolor artists. You can readily own such a work.

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