A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast

Object Details


A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast


Claude-Joseph Vernet (French, 1714 - 1789)






Oil on canvas

Object Number:



113 × 145.7 cm (44 1/2 × 57 3/8 in.)

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Claude-Joseph Vernet depicted a storm's aftermath: dark clouds above an angry sea, a shipwrecked boat and its anxious survivors, and listing ships in the distance. As the sea furiously beats against the shoreline, waves explode beyond the rocks in a froth of white. The motion of the waves, the distant rain shaft, the battered ship, and even the bodies of the fleeing castaways fill the scene with strong, opposing diagonal lines. The lighthouse standing solidly upright at the painting's center counters all of this activity.

The strong colors of the shipwrecked survivors' clothing stand out against the palette of greens, grays, and browns in the turbulent sea. Clearing skies cast the survivors in an eerie glow; dark tones at the left and lower edges and in the waves themselves draw further attention to the bright figures.

The scene as a whole suggests the powerful force of nature over man. Vernet's companion piece for this painting, A Calm at a Mediterranean Port, presents a sharply contrasting scene of a harbor in more placid weather.

1767 - 1779

Thomas King, fifth baron King, 1712 - 1779, commissioned from the artist, about 1767.

1779 - 1793

Peter King, sixth baron King, 1736 - 1793, by inheritance to Peter King, 1793.

1793 - 1833

Peter King, seventh baron King, 1775 - 1833, by inheritance to William King-Noel, 1833.

1833 - 1893

William King-Noel, first earl of Lovelace, died 1893, by inheritance to Ralph Gordon Noel King-Milbanke, 1893.

1893 - 1906

Ralph Gordon Noel King-Milbanke, second earl of Lovelace, died 1906, by inheritance to his half-brother, Lionel Fortescue King, 1906.

1906 - 1929

Lionel Fortescue King, third earl of Lovelace, died 1929, by inheritance to Peter Malcolm King, 1929.

1929 -

Peter Malcolm King, fourth earl of Lovelace [unsold, Sotheby's, London, July 13, 1937, lot 115], by inheritance to his wife, Manon.

- 1990

Manon, countess of Lovelace, died 1990, upon her death, held in trust by the estate.

1990 - 1993

Estate of Manon, countess of Lovelace, died 1990 [sold, Christie's, London, December 10, 1993, lot 55, to Richard Green Gallery.]

1993 - 1994

Richard Green Gallery, sold to a private collector, Paris, 1994.

1994 - late 1990s

Private Collection, sold to Richard Green Gallery, London.

by late 1990s

Richard Green Gallery, sold to a private collector, San Francisco.

by late 1990s

Private Collection, sold to Richard Green Gallery, London.

by late 1990s - 2002

Richard Green Gallery, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002.

Autour de Claude-Joseph Vernet: La marine à voile de 1650 à 1890 (July to October, 1999) (as "Tempête sur la côte méditerranéene")
  • Musée des beaux-arts (Rouen), July to October 1999

Lagrange, Léon. Les Vernet: Joseph Vernet et la peinture au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Didier, 1864), pp. 175, 346 (no. 228), 348 (no. 237), 365 (no. 136).

Ingersoll-Smouse, Florence. Joseph Vernet, peintre de marine 1714-1789: étude critique et catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. (Paris: Etienne Bignou, 1926), vol. 2, p. 15, no. 875, pl. cii, fig. 224.

Sotheby's, London. Important Paintings of the Venetian Settecento, etc. The Property of the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Lovelace [...]. July 13, 1937, p. 36, lot 115.

Christie's, London. Important and Fine Old Master Pictures. December 10, 1993, pp. 94-96, lot 55, ill.

Pétry, Claude, et al. Autour de Claude-Joseph Vernet: La marine à voile de 1650 à 1890, exh. cat. (Rouen: Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1999), p. 120, no. 22, ill.

Conisbee, Philip. "The Shipwreck, 1772, by Claude-Joseph Vernet." In Mélanges en hommage à Pierre Rosenberg: Peintures et dessins en France et en Italie XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2001), p. 153n3.

Wuhrmann, Sylvie. "Formes et fonctions de la famille dans les représentations de catastrophes naturelles au XVIIIe siècle: l'exemple de Claude-Joseph Vernet." In L'art et les normes sociales au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Maison de sciences de l'homme, 2001), pp. 413-15, fig. 2.

Morris, Susan. Art Without Borders: European Old Master Paintings 1600-1820 (London: Richard Green, 2002), pp. 124-27, 177-79, no. 45, ill.

Christie's, London. The Champalimaud Collection Evening Sale. July 6, 2005, p. 62, under lot. 20, entry by Francis Russell.

Education Resources

Education Resource




And Then What Happened?

Lesson in which students identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives in landscape paintings, write narratives, and paint landscapes.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Two-Part Lesson

Postcards from the Wilderness

Students create a postcard of a landscape using rubbings to create texture, and write a letter on the postcard describing their landscape.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Single Class Lesson

Looking and Learning (K-5) Lesson 1

Prepare elementary students for a trip to a museum. Practice formal analysis and review appropriate behavior and the roles of museums.

Visual Arts

K-2; 3-5

Two-Part Lesson

Looking and Learning (K-5) Lesson 2

Students visit a museum and use the elements of art to explore the differences between viewing original works of art and reproductions.

Visual Arts

K-2; 3-5

Short Activity

Looking and Learning (K-5) Lesson 3

This exercise reinforces what students learned on a museum visit about looking at an original work of art.

Visual Arts

K-2; 3-5

Two-Part Lesson

Language through Art (Beginning)

Lesson in which students study artwork related to exterior spaces, using vocabulary, adjectives, declarative/imperative sentences to describe weather.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12; Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: A Calm at a Mediteranean Port / A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast