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The Dance Lesson Claude-Joseph Vernet  
       

The Shipwreck by Claude-Joseph Vernet Claude Joseph Vernet, The Shipwreck, 1772, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons' Permanent Fund and Chester Dale Fund 2000.22.1

 

The Painting

The wind came out of nowhere, lifting the sea and slamming our ship into the rocky shore. A blanket of clouds quickly closed in—but for the ragged flashes of lightning, we were in the dark. With thunder blasting like cannons at close range, men leapt into the surf, towing a line and tying the ship to a rock, while I, along with my sons, slid down the rope line to safety. A drowning woman, pulled from the sea, lay half-dead on the beach as we came ashore, and another leaned into the wind, exhausted, crying out to the heavens.


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