A Shipwreck in a Storm
Jean Pillement, French, 1728 - 1808
Following Claude-Joseph Vernet’s example (Vernet was the most important marine and landscape painter in eighteenth-century France), the slightly younger French artist Jean Pillement won a reputation for shipwreck subjects with all the familiar ingredients: beetling cliffs, pounding surf, and miserable victims. Working in a velvety pastel, Pillement demonstrated the contradictory combination of sensuousness and terror that remains part of the appeal of such scenes. Like Vernet, Pillement frequently paired his shipwreck pictures with views of tranquil harbors so that the appreciation of each scene was enhanced by contrast with the other.