Thursday, October 18, 2012

161st Anniversary of "Moby-Dick"

As you can tell from that image above, Google's banner for today, this is the 161st Anniversary of the publication of Moby-Dick. Well, one of the 161st Anniversaries, anyway. Moby-Dick was first published on October 18, 1851 in Great Britain. It was published in the U.S. about a month later, on November 14, 1851. Maybe this blog will celebrate twice!

To celebrate this fine day, I'd like to share a great many pieces of art inspired by the book and by Herman Melville himself. Some of these I was aware of, and inspired by, when I began my own project. Some of these I discovered later. What continues to astonish, fascinate, and delight me is the incredibly wide range of ways in which this great book has been explored, interpreted, visualized, recontextualized, and shared. It remains an honor for my own art to be a part of this great body of work, and I hope that my illustrations have added something small but valuable to Melville's grand tale.

In all cases below, I have attempted to give proper titles and artist attribution to each piece, but if I have made any errors please contact me and I will correct the post immediately. Off to the picture show then...

Signet Classics edition early cover by unknown

manga version by Tatsuya Morino

And I Only Am Escaped Alone To Tell Thee by Tom Neely

Captain Ahab by unknown

Captain Ahab (Face) by Leonard Baskin

Like an Open Doored Marble Tomb by George Klauba

Moby Dick Arises From the Deep by Gilbert Wilson

The Fossil Whale by Frank Stella

Moby Dick Rises by Rockwell Kent

Herman Melville by Farel Dalrymple

Captain Ahab's Worst Nightmare by Nancy Vagedes

Daggoo by Leonard Baskin

Queequeg by Leonard Baskin

Mocha Dick by Tristan Lowe

Moby Dick Transcendant by Rockwell Kent

Queequeg by Charlie Hynes

Moby Dick by Leonard Baskin

Moby Dick by Bill Sienkiewicz

Captain Ahab by RQuack

Head of the Sperm Whale by Barry Moser

I Am Madness Maddened by Gilbert Wilson

Island by Dave Wachter

White Whale by Kathleen Piercefield

Ahab by Raymond Bishop

Queequeg by Holly Doyle McAtee

Homage a Melville by Paul Jenkins

Moby Dick by George Klauba

Ishmael by George Klauba

Moby Dick as Jaws by unknown

Stove Boat by Claus Hoie

Queequeg by Matthew Cruickshank

The Great Shroud by Bill Sienkiewicz

Moby Dick by unknown

Abraxas and the Earth Man by Rick Vietch

Moby Dick by Vali Myers

Moby Dick and Ahab by Claus Hoie

Ahab (Strike the Sun) by Kathleen Piercefield

Inscrutable Tides of God by Robert Del Tredici

Captain Ahab by Den Unge Herr Holm

The Death of Fedallah by Benton Spruance

Moby Dick by Franco Matticchio


  1. So enamored with those Baskin pieces; he's a really huge source of inspiration for my own work, though it's not always clearly obvious.

  2. What a fantastic post. It's amazing to see how wildly varied all of these interpretations are of the novel. Your work certainly fits in well with these other amazing works. I have to say, though, while I particularly liked seeing how other artists interpreted Queequeg, I honestly like yours the best, especially the shade of blue that you used to signify him over and over again. Truly iconic.

  3. Andy, that Baskin remark definitely came as a surprise at first but the more I consider his art the more I can see a connection. Always good to know more about what goes on inside your brain, man!

  4. Rudy, thank you, I had a great time putting it together and I'm glad it turned out well. I had forgotten about this anniversary so I kind of scrambled to get everything assembled and ready to go.

    I also very much appreciate the kind words about my Queequeg. I will be honest, while I am exceptionally fond of the Charlie Hynes version (which kind of reminds me of Mervyn Peake's "Captain Slaughterboard Drops Ancho") my own Queequeg is still my favorite too. I've never seen an image that quite resembles Queequeg as much, to me at least, as my own version.

  5. Awesome art. My favorite was Moby-Dick as Jaws. :)

  6. Hankering, that was a good one. It's fascinating to see how some of these ideas and themes resonate down through the years, colliding with and cross-pollinating with newer iterations.


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