The Art of Independence of the Seas
As on each of the larger Royal Caribbean ships, Independence of the Seas has an extensive collection of contemporary art on display in its public areas. This collection was assembled by Royal in collaboration with International Corporate Art (ICArt).
The theme of this collection is “The Contemporary Spirit of the Old Masters” and is composed of works that were inspired in one way or another by art work of the past. The works in the collection are not copies of Old Master works, although quite a few make use of images that you may have seen in the museums of the world. Rather, these are works that draw from the art of the past in order to create art for today.
Dominating the Royal Promenade is a sculpture by Larry Kirkland. Kirkland's works appear on a number of Royal Caribbean ships. This time, he has taken a wine glass from ancient Greece and blown it up to monumental size. Above the cup is a circular painting of dolphins done in the style of ancient Greece. It is an eye-catching work and the fact that the drinking vessel is a symbol of pleasure and bounty fits in well with the atmosphere of the Royal Promenade.
In the forward Centrum is a mobile done by Brad Howe called “Constellations in the Seas.” In style, it is reminiscent of the mobiles done by Alexander Calder in the mid-20th century. The brightly painted elements of the mobile stand out against a large red square at the aft end of the Centrum.
In the aft Centrum is a work by Devorah Sperber depicting a glass goblet, a comb and a cabinet against a sky full of white, puffy clouds. Entitled “After Magritte,” the inspiration for this work was the work of Belgian artist Rene Magritte and his juxtaposition of ordinary objects in unusual contexts. Unlike Magritte's works, however, this work is not a painting but rather is made up of 20,800 spools of different color thread. This gives it a quality like ancient Roman mosaics.
There is also artwork displayed on each of the landings of the two stair towers that rise up through the ship. Along the port side of the forward stair tower are works inspired by “Southern Masters” i.e. Italian and Spanish masters. Am example is a work by Robert Silvers that takes the central figure from Sandro Botticelli's famous “The Birth of Venus” and enlarges it several times. However, this image was not created by painting but rather is hundreds of small photographs assembled by a computer into Botticelli's image.
On the starboard side of the forward stair tower are works that were inspired by the artists of the Dutch Golden Age. For example, Irish artist Mary Waters has created portraits from some of the figures depicted in Joannes Vermeer's paintings. However, Ms. Waters has painted them in black and white, rendering the experience of seeing these images more akin to seeing them in a book of reproductions rather than viewing the original works.
Further aft on the main stair tower port side are a series of works said to be inspired by the French Impressionists. In some cases, the connection between the works and the works of the Impressionists is rather tenuous. However, the connection is easier to see in works such as Henrik Hagen's “Park” is which he has combined a photograph with acrylic paint giving the work a look similar to those of the Impressionists.
On the starboard side are works inspired by the Expressionist movement in the early 20th century. Ole Lislerud's “Screem” takes the well-known central image from Edouard Munch's “The Scream” and reproduces it in various ways on a porcelain base. Rather, than work with a famous image, Morten Slettemeas untitled work has a style and palette that recalls the Expressionists.
There is also art in various public rooms. For example, the theme of the main dining room, is Shakespeare's plays and there are various works relating to his plays or to writing. In the latter category is “The Quill Pen” by Studio Sem. It looks like a feather quill but is actually made of marble.
Some of the most enjoyable works are found along the corridors outside the passenger cabins. These include prints, posters and photographs on a wide array of subjects. For example, there are a series of print reproductions of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist drawings.
Overall, this is a successful collection. While we did not like everything we saw, there is a great deal of creativity in this collection. This makes it interesting and worthwhile to explore and so enhances the cruise experience.
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Above: "Kylix" by Larry Kirkland is the centerpiece of the Independence of the Seas' collection.
Above: Examples of some of the art work aboard Independence of the Seas.
Cruise ship art collection review -Royal Caribbean - - Independence of the Seas