Wednesday, August 4, 2021

10 Most Inspiring Sunrise Oil Paintings


Dusk and dawn are among the most beautiful times of the day. They paint a gorgeous blend of colors across the sky that seem to give viewers a new experience every single time. 

Because of this, starting out the day by seeing the sunrise is one of the most inspiring ways to kick it off. Luckily, you don’t have to depend on getting up at the crack of dawn to see this scene. Thanks to countless artists over the years, you can have the sunrise immortalized in your home with a sunrise painting

1 – Impression Sunrise, Claude Oscar Monet

Monet is one of the greats of the Impressionist Era. The distinct brushstrokes do the sunrise justice in this painting too. The sky is starting to show the orange and yellow streaks of dawn and the sun hangs low in the sky. The painting also does a good job of capturing the reflection of dawn on the water below as it shows the rising sun fragmented over the water. 

2 – The Ninth Wave (1850), Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

Aivazovsky uses a vibrant palate to capture the morning sky in his painting The Ninth Wave. He aims towards a much more realistic approach to the landscape than Monet, so his brushstrokes blend together without any clear distinction. The sunrise is highlighted with orange, red, and yellow peeking behind rising clouds.

3 – Olive Trees With Yellow Sky And Sun, Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is another famous artist that followed Claude Monet’s footsteps during the post-impressionism movement. His rendition of the sunrise in Olive Trees with Yellow Sun and Sky doesn’t focus specifically on the sunset but rather the land beneath it. He captures this in his trademark style of short brushstrokes in varying colors rather than a true-to-form hyper-realistic representation, making for something truly unique. 

4 – The Voyage Of Life: Manhood I, Thomas Cole

The Voyage of Life is actually a series of paintings by Thomas Cole done in 1842. The paintings represent four stages of life including childhood, youth, manhood, and, finally, old age. The paintings show a man floating on the River of Life with a guardian angel present in each one. For art lovers looking to see the potential sunrise in these paintings in the Manhood entry to the series. 

5 – Woman Before The Rising Sun (Woman Before The Setting Sun), 1818-20, Caspar David Friedrich

This painting is actually open to interpretation as it’s both referred to as Woman Before the Rising Sun and Woman Before the Setting Sun. As a sunrise painting, it shows the silhouette of a woman as she prepares to greet the new day. This is a rather inspiring scene to start your routine with even if you wake well-past the rise of the sun. 

6 – Sunrise Florida, Martin Johnson Heade

There’s nothing quite as equally calming and invigorating as a beachside sunrise. Martin Johnson Heade recognized the beauty in this with his painting Sunrise Florida. This painting was done between 1890 and 1900 and it features some scenery commonly associated with the state. Specifically, the towering palm trees make it clear where this scene is meant to take place. All in all, it’s a simple piece with a tranquil air. 

7 – Sunrise With Sea Monsters, 1845, Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Sunrise with Sea Monsters is an interesting piece in that it offers a gorgeous scene while remaining unfinished. Even in this status, it’s earned a permanent home in the Tate Britain museum. The artwork shows a yellow sunrise over a gray sea. In the lower lefthand corner of the painting, you can see a group of red and pink shapes. These are typically identified as the titular sea monsters.

8 – Dawn In The Hills, Julian Onderdonk

Sunrise is often associated with warm colors such as red and orange. However, Onderdonk changes the game by filling his canvas with brilliant blues and purples. This is complemented by the yellow and white clouds floating through the sky and the faint outline of the sun over the horizon.

9 – The River Nile With The Gizeh Pyramids, Otto Johann Heinrich Heyden

If there’s anything striking enough to enhance the coming sunrise, it’s the reflection of dawn over the Great Pyramids of Giza. This painting takes the setting away from standard horizon shots and gives onlookers a view from the Nile in the morning.

10 – Winter Sunrise, Charles Warren Eaton 

Sometimes, a tropical or moderate sunrise doesn’t fit the mood. In those times, a snowy sunrise can be just the thing. Winter Sunrise works well because the warm colors of the rising sun and the sky it’s reflecting onto contrast directly with the dark trees and white snow.


Nature has inspired many paintings over the years and these sunrise paintings are just 10 examples of the majesty these paintings can hold. There’s no end to the landscape paintings that will inspire you with their view through the artist’s eyes.

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