The Silver Nova Cruise Ship Has a Better Collection Than Many Art Galleries

One artist uses his scientific training to focus his works; another uses a camera lens. Some works are playful; others filter their work through a more serious lens. There are so many more reasons, Mariangela Capuzzo, the chief curator of the collection onboard says, to take some time to wander, from suite corridors to library ceilings. The Silver Nova features artworks that would be prized at art galleries around the world.

“We should care about the art on Silver Nova because the collection was carefully curated to create a unique aesthetic and conceptual journey,” she tells me. “It’s an opportunity for guests onboard to experience a new way of seeing, exploring, discovering, and feeling. Art matters.”

Of the nearly 1,800 works of art on the new Silver Nova, we asked Capuzzo, who is chief creative officer of ICArt, for recommendations on which pieces you really must see (and don’t feel as though you need to limit yourself to this list, either).

Francesco Messina

“Scuola di Danza,” a bronze figure that welcomes guests to Silver Nova, by Francesco Messina.

“Scuola di Danza,” translated as “School of Dance,” is part of a collection of 38 bronze sculptures by the late Italian artist Francesco Messina placed around Silver Nova. First, a bit of Silversea heritage: The Messina collection was acquired by the cruise line and was featured on many of its ships. Silver Nova represents the first time significant highlights of the collection are exhibited together on one ship.

The signature is a 4.5-foot-tall ballerina who welcomes guests with open arms as passengers come aboard. Born in 1900, Messina was part of the Italian Novecento movement that sought to revive the classical manner of art. He died in 1995.

Where to see: Aft stairwell, Deck 2

Marie-Andrée Côté

Marie-Andrée Côté’s Bleeding and Phantom Flower

Canadian artist Marie-Andrée Côté uses delicate porcelain to reflect the fragility of the natural environment in a pair of disks measuring 26 inches in diameter. Their names: “Bleeding and Phantom Flower.”

“There’s a dialogue between the work and nature itself,” Capuzzo says. “The work is organic. It’s captivating, it’s stunning, it’s intriguing.

Where to see: Forward stairs, Deck 9

Steve McCurry and Abraham Ortelius

A Steve McCurry photo of Ethiopia and an Abraham Ortelius map

American photographer Steve McCurry is globally known for captivating imagery of cultures living traditional lives. On Silver Nova, his photographs are juxtaposed with map pages from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, created by 16th-century cartographer Abraham Ortelius, and considered the world’s first true modern atlas.

The result is a visual journey from past to present of many of the far-away places that Silver Nova is apt to visit – a tantalizing sample of things to come.

Where to see: Throughout the suite corridors

Federico Miró

Federico Miró’s work looks like a tapestry. It is not.

At a glance, the 50-inch-wide untitled crimson tapestry by Spanish artist Federico Miró appears to be a weaving. At second and perhaps third glance too. But close inspection – and a good pair of glasses – reveals it as an intricate acrylic painting. The painstaking detail is so nuanced and skillful that it’s hard to imagine a person could create it without a loom.

Where to see: Forward stairs, Deck 7

Batool Showghi

Batool Showghi and miniature works incorporating stitching and paint, among other things.

London-based artist Batool Showghi puts a contemporary twist on the traditional Persian artform of figurative miniature paintings. For Silver Nova, she used stitching, paint and Farsi inscriptions on textile in 39 boxes, each measuring 2.5 x 3.5 inches. Together, they tell stories of modern life during the pandemic in her homeland, a time that shows the isolation people felt when separated from loved ones.

Where to see: Forward stairs, Deck 5

Delphine Diallo

“Yoruba Crown,” by Delphine Diallo

Delphine Diallo photographs women as the goddesses and heroines she knows them to be. In “Yoruba Crown,” the Brooklyn-based artist celebrates her French-Senegalese heritage in a meter-high image that is regal, beautiful and compelling.

Where to see: Forward stairs, Deck 6

Ana Rod

Playful ceramics by Ana Rod

Whimsical ceramics by Spanish artist Ana Rod are designed to evoke joy and wonder (as in this question: “How do the flourishes and squiggles adorning them remain intact?”) A group of 11 of her works are a focal point for the array of paintings, collages and photographs that give the Arts Café its name.

Where to see: Arts Café, Deck 4

Blott Kerr-Wilson

Blott Kerr-Wilson’s collages

The trio of mosaics by Britain’s Blott Kerr-Wilson look as though they were fashioned by glass. On closer inspection, they are clearly something else – but what? Kerr-Wilson spends countless hours at the shore collecting the shells of mussels and other ocean creatures, then combining them in ways that make them feel as shimmering and alive as the sea itself.

Where to see: Aft stairs, Deck 9

Mara Fabbro

Mara Fabbro’s works are on the menu in Atlantide restaurant.

In Joie de Vivre, everyone is a winner as Italian artist Mara Fabbro depicts a sporting day with the horses. The series’ 3-D quality is created by the contrast between textural backgrounds and negative space that become polo ponies, jockeys and exuberant fans. Those textures are created with Fabbro’s signature medium, a mixture of pigment and sand.

Where to see: Atlantide restaurant, Deck 3

Timothy Hyunsoo Lee

Science suffuses Timothy Hyunsoo Lee’s work.

Gold leaf is an essential element in the work of Boston-based artist Timothy Hyunsoo Lee, who uses it as a link to his Korean homeland. His 86-inch-long calligraphy scroll “Borderline Perfect” encompasses golf leaf and silk. For his installation “Lotto (Sweet Child of Mine),” photographic images are transferred to 30 aluminum plates and adorned with gold leaf. His triptych “Promise Me You’ll Never Forget the Martyrs” stretches 60 inches onto linen imbued with Korean silk, paper, spray paint and gold leaf. All of his works reflect his early training in medicine and biology, with an exacting attention to detail.

Where to see: Aft stairwell, Decks 3, 4 and 5

Michelle McKinney

You’ll find precious metals in this work by Michelle McKinney.

British artist Michelle McKinney leans on her background as a jewelry maker to weave copper threads and filaments into miniature birds that “fly” across a pair of untitled panels.

Where to see: Aft stairs, Deck 8

Artur Sula

A dreamy look at the sea and sky , by Artur Sula.

Albanian artist Artur Sula’s massive muraled ceiling invites visitors to survey the sea, look deep into the constellations of the sky, and dream of possibilities. The work, covering 280 square feet, was hand-painted in place, and highlighted using 24K gold leaf.

Where to see: Library, Deck 10

Do you enjoy art galleries on ships? See where the Silver Nova is sailing to next!