Shipwreck off a Rocky Coast, Adam Willaerts, 1614

Shipwreck off a Rocky Coast, Adam Willaerts, 1614

oil on panel, h 64.5cm × w 85.2cm More details

Those who went to sea played roulette with their lives. The wooden ships were small and fragile, and the very real dangers were exaggerated with horror stories of hideous creatures living in the unfathomable depths. Willaerts created an image of every seaman’s worst nightmare. One ship has been dashed on the rocks, and the other two are heeling over. The survivors at centre are threatened by a monstrous fish.

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