Watch an Artist Recreate Impressionist Masterpieces in Water - Atlas Obscura
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Watch an Artist Recreate Impressionist Masterpieces in Water

Who knew art could be this wet?

The legacy of van Gogh just got a little more liquid.

In this video, artist Garip Ay recreates two of history’s most famous masterpieces with a few strokes of his brush on a pan of dark water.

What starts as an empty canvas transforms into van Gogh’s Starry Night and a striking portrait of the artist. But the painting process wasn’t quite the same.

Ay uses the traditional Turkish art form of marbling called ebru. It’s done by painting color pigments on oily water—sometimes darkened, like in this video. Paper is then laid on the water’s surface, picking up the pigments and preserving the painting in a more tangible form.

Since the art’s reported invention in central Asia more than half a millennium ago, it spread throughout Asia, India, and the Middle East and became a Turkish trademark, used decoratively in the Ottoman Empire.

The result of marbling is a sweeping and swirling visual sensation that mere oil paints and solid canvas can’t capture. You might just have to wait longer for it to dry.

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