This work is on view.
oil on canvas
- Dimensions (H x W x D)
19 in x 29 1/4 in
- Inscriptions & Markings
signature/maker's mark: Signed and dated lower left"Lacroix, 1763"
- Collection Area
- Object Type
- Credit Line
Bequest of Dr. Edwin Binney, 3rd
- Accession Number
This prolific French artist spent much of his career in Rome, where he was recorded from the 1750s, but he also exhibited in the Salon de la Correspondence in Paris in 1780 and 1782. His works were extremely popular and were reproduced in numerous engravings. His poetic compositions foreshadow Romanticism, with their waterfalls, storms, shipwrecks, and volcanic eruptions, all demonstrating the forces of nature.
Charles-François Lacroix, known as Lacroix de Marseilles, studied with Joseph Vernet and worked in Rome during the early 1750s. He established himself as a painter of seascapes, of capricci, or imaginary landscapes, and of natural disasters, which satisfied the contemporary taste for images of such spectacles and acts of God. In 1757, Lacroix traveled to Naples, to paint several views of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
A Shipwreck combines the elements of romantic horror: beauty, fear and pathos. We are drawn to the exquisitely rendered waves and the dramatic light of the composition. We are reminded of man’s helplessness as the elegant ship is dashed on the rocks, and the battered bodies are strewn along the shore. The forlorn figures on the right call to us for help and for pity.