Of Whales in Paint: Rockwell Kent’s Moby-Dick

Portland Museum of Art

Oct. 15, 2024 - Dec. 31, 2016

7 Congress Square
Portland, 04101
(207) 775-6148


Whether we are aware of it or not, much of how we visualize Moby-Dick stems from Rockwell Kent’s published illustrations of Herman Melville’s tale. Kent used ink on paper to depict the classic novel’s themes at their most essential. Strength, solitude, spirituality, and the epic struggle between humanity and the power of nature come to the fore in Kent’s piercing illustrations of the hunt for the white whale. By bringing Melville’s text to life in such spare but potent terms, Kent invented an expressive visual language to describe the rugged independence of maritime life.


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