Watson and the Shark
John Singleton Copley's Watson and the Shark was inspired by an actual event that took place in the harbor at Havana, Cuba, in 1749. Fourteen-year-old Brook Watson was working as a crew member on a trading ship. One day, while swimming alone in the harbor, he was attacked by a shark. His shipmates saw that Brook was in trouble and immediately tried to rescue him. (Click the picture to pop up an enlargement in a new window.)

Copyright © National Gallery of Art