Eye Candy for Today: Christian Schussele illustration of sea life

Ocean Life, Christian Schussele, watercolor and gouache
Ocean Life, Christian Schussele

Watercolor and gouache, roughly 19 x 28 inches (48 x 70 cm), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This illustration was painted by 19th century painter Schussele for inclusion in a scientific pamphlet, and likely under the guidance of the pamphlet’s author, James M. Sommerville, an amateur naturalist.

Sommerville was also an artist and was a trustee of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where Schussele was a professor in drawing and painting.

Schussele’s sensitive but bold rendering of the strange undersea life makes for a lively tableaux of complex and colorful forms.

3 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Christian Schussele illustration of sea life”

  1. Schussele, born in French commune Alsace, was trained by Paul Delaroche & Adolphe in Paris. In 1848 he settled in Philadelphia. Twelve years later he was stricken by palsy and was only able to work as a teacher at his home at 10 Northwest Penn Square.

    “We Germans who know Germany and France know better what is good for the Alsatians than the unfortunates themselves. In the perversion of their French life they have no exact idea of what concerns Germany.”

    — Heinrich von Treitschke, German nationalist, historian and politician, 1871

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