Claude-Joseph Vernet' signature  
The PaintingThe ArtistVisions of the Sea Claude-Joseph Vernet' signature
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
For the eighteenth-century imagination, this representation of a shipwreck was the equivalent of a modern movie, in full technicolor and stereo sound. French artist Claude Joseph Vernet (1714–1789) specialized in these stormy seascapes, often depicting sailing vessels in distress. His patrons and critics loved to imagine themselves within these wild scenes of destruction, battered by wind and spray, feeling the terror of the sublime. Paintings like this one were also thought of as vanitas, reminders of the transitory nature of life on earth.

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