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Eight Bells

Already established as a successful painter, watercolorist, and illustrator, Winslow Homer decided to try his hand at etching during the revival of this medium, creating eight finished plates between 1884 and 1889. In Eight Bells, one of his finest efforts, two fishermen track their ship's position amid stormy seas using nautical instruments and the sound of bells ringing at set times of day. The powerfully simplified and asymmetrical composition not only heightens the drama of their plight but also reveals Homer's familiarity with Japanese design principles.

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