Claude Joseph Vernet's Shipwreck

Topics: Claude Joseph Vernet, Storm, French painters Pages: 3 (820 words) Published: December 10, 2005
Oil on Canvas 1772
Claude Joseph Vernet
French 1714-1779
Patron's Permanent Fund and Chester Dale Fund

Claude Joseph Vernet was one of the most artistic French landscape and marine painters in Europe during the seventeenth century. Throughout his successful career, Vernet made sketching trips within Rome and along the Mediterranean coast capturing scenes that reflect his most famous works of art (National Gallery of Art, 2005). During the age of Enlightenment, he received many requests for his art work. His paintings were such a success because his work seemed to portray a wide variety of scenes and images that were presented in the unpredictable world of nature during this time.

The painting I chose titled, The Shipwreck, was one of Vernet's most famous art pieces in the 1700's. This particular painting expresses a wild scene of destruction and terror as an intense thunderstorm sinks and destroys a sailing ship. The setting of the painting takes place along a rocky seacoast most likely between the 1700's considering the design of the character's garments, the old Victorian vessel and the secreted castle in the background. The violent winds from the storm fling sailors from the ship, giving them a chance to reach the shore for survival or cause them to drown in a fight against the powerful arms of the sea. The characters in the painting show signs of distress and despair as they struggle to save themselves and others against the raging weather.

The composition of features embrace the mood and the form of the painting, making it seem as though Vernet created objects in the seascape to translate these certain characteristics. For example, the characters on the beach suggest that the mood must be

fear-provoking since their facial expression transmit feelings of stress caused by the storm. In the foreground of the painting, a woman leans up against a rock with her head tilted back as if she were saying her last...
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