An energetic depiction of a powerful storm at sea by influential Spanish realist, Ramon Martí i Alsina (1826–1894).
Several figures are desperately clinging onto a small boat that’s partially submerged amid wild waters. An older man yells to a fellow sailor as he grapples with the remnants of the mast. While a second figure reaches up and frantically tries to clamber aboard the doomed vessel.
Martí i Alsina was at his best when painting the powerful effects of nature in a quick and fluid style. In this particular work, he cleverly drags our eye from the wrecked boat on the left, diagonally upwards towards the destructive wave. By doing so, he puts us right in the picture as if we can feel ourselves being buffeted by the wind.
It’s likely that he created this piece towards the end of his career when he’d adopted a looser, almost impressionistic, style. During the 1870s, he faced multiple tragedies, including the loss of his two children and the continual pressure of financial ruin.
We’ve written a blog article that explains a little more about this important Catalan luminary.