In brilliant detail, Claude-Joseph Vernet captured the gorgeous weather and leisurely activities of a day by the sea. Fishermen clean the day's catch on a stone pier while several people chat nearby, one of them pointing toward the large ship in the bay. Meanwhile, a man sits and smokes his pipe, the tobacco glowing a bright red. A cumulus cloud, perhaps the remnant of a distant storm, towers to the left of the setting sun. Warm tones of yellow, orange and red predominate, suggesting a hazy sunset after a bright day.
In A Calm, Vernet portrayed a completely peaceful scene in striking contrast to its pendant, A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast. Taken together, the two works show, on the one hand, nature's benevolence, and on the other, nature's fury.