Pool Art cover

Pool Art

The versatility of swimming pools helps make them a uniquely valuable space. A pool can accommodate many different moods and activities, from intense exercise, to a relaxing read, to a rowdy pool party. A well maintained pool can enrich the surrounding landscape, providing a personalized nature-like setting in one’s backyard. It can be a space of escape, both from high temperatures and the stress of daily life. Here are some notable artistic representations of swimming pools demonstrating how a pool can leave an impression that we might not usually consider.

Feel free to relax by this “pool” in Amsterdam, but be careful not to dive in. The illusion of depth in Leon Keer’s 3D street art gives the water a strikingly realistic appearance. This transforms the perception of the environment, causing an otherwise standard blacktop to visually pop. Even a two-dimensional pool can be fun and charming, as exhibited by the loungers in this photo.

This pixel art by Hiroshi Nagai looks outward from a swimming pool, toward the backdrop of the ocean and cloudless sky. Nagai creates a limitless effect, as the swimming pool appears to mirror the expanse of the clear blue horizon. The patio is a minimalistic beach paradise, suggesting there is nothing to disturb the viewer within the calm, open space. Overall, the picturesque digital image appeals to the carefreeness of a day at the pool.

Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool is an art installation that creates a pool effect by filling two parallel glass panes with water. Going for a swim allows a break from the typical experience of gravity. Seeing the “submerged” exhibit-goers moving with the resistance of air creates an optical illusion, causing the surface level observers to double-take. One can also imagine the disorienting effect of looking up from the bottom of the pool while breathing oxygen. Though maybe not the most relaxing exhibit, Erlich’s piece offers a mind-bending reflection on swimming pools.

Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich (

David Hockney’s painting draws on the theme of the pool as a space of privacy and nature. The pool water and sprawling green hills appear peaceful and vital. The swimmer is at ease, unconcerned with his surroundings. Meanwhile the man in the red jacket seems to stick out like a literal sore thumb among the beautiful surroundings. Pools are a common feature of Hockney’s art, and the conflict between the two figures highlights how the pool offers a retreat from the tension and order of daily life.

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) by David Hockney (