Artist: Jean Pillement (French, Lyons 1728–1808 Lyons)
Medium: Pastel on gessoed canvas
Dimensions: 24 3/4 x 36 in. (62.9 x 91.4 cm)
Classification: Pastels & Oil Sketches on Paper
Credit Line: Gift of Martin Birnbaum, 1956
Accession Number: 56.7
This pastel, large in scale for Pillement, persuasively suggests the dark, threatening, moisture-laden atmosphere of the storm. The sky occupies an exceptionally large part of the picture, and the artist strictly limited the use of the blues and greens that are typical of his palette to achieve a monochromatic effect. The spectators bear witness to the risk to life, as many who were on board the ship are presumably overcome by the elements. The date appears to be 1782, though 1792 is also possible.