In Art & Media
One influential image was created by John William Waterhouse, from 1895 to 1905, entitled A Mermaid, (see the top of this article). An example of late British Academy style artwork, the piece debuted to considerable acclaim (and secured Waterhouse's place as a member of the Royal Academy), but disappeared into a private collection and did not resurface until the 1970s. It is currently in the collection of Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
The most famous in more recent centuries is Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale The Little Mermaid (1836), which has been translated into many languages. Andersen's portrayal, immortalized with a famous bronze sculpture in Copenhagen harbour, has arguably become the standard and has influenced most modern Western depictions of mermaids since it was published. The mermaid, as conceived by Andersen, appears to represent the Undines of Paracelsus, which also could only obtain an immortal soul by marrying a human being.
The best known musical depictions of mermaids are those by Felix Mendelssohn in his Fair Melusina overture and the three "Rhine daughters" in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. A more recent depiction in contemporary concert music is The Weeping Mermaid by Taiwanese composer Fan-Long Ko.
Sue Monk Kidd has written a book called The Mermaid Chair. The title comes from a mermaid who becomes a (fictional) saint.
Movie depictions include the 1984 hit comedy Splash starring Daryl Hannah. A 1963 episode of the hit television series Route 66, featured an episode The Cruelest Sea about a real mermaid working at Weeki Wachee aquatic park.