WTF Art History

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

pages

Paleolithic
Ancient
Greek and Roman
Early Christian
Medieval
Byzantine
Renaissance
Mannerism
Baroque
18th Century
19th Century
Modern
Contemporary Art
Decorative Arts
WTF Questions
Painting
Sculpture
Drawing
Manuscripts
Photography
Penises
Breasts
Tights are NOT pants
Fart History
Cool Websites
Before They Were Famous
Saintly Martyrdom

tumblinks

search

powered by tumblr
seattle theme by parker ehret

  1. Before Jaws…

    …there was Watson’s encounter with a shark!

    John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

    John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

    Here’s what happened:

    John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark was inspired by an event that took place in Havana, Cuba, in 1749. Fourteen-year-old Brook Watson, an orphan serving as a crew member on a trading ship, was attacked by a shark while swimming alone in the harbor. His shipmates, who had been waiting on board to escort their captain ashore, launched a valiant rescue effort.

    Explore further on the NGA website.

    A detailed description of the event is recorded on a long plaque attached to the painting.  Here’s an image and transcription of what it says.

    John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

    This picture representing a remarkable occurrence in the life of Brook Watson was bequeathed to the Royal Hospital of Christ in London by his will.  He was of a very good family in the North of England but having lost both his parents early in life was brought up by an aunt, and before the age of fourteen years manifested a strong predilection for the sea, which led to the misfortune represented in the picture.  He served in the Commissariat Department of the Army under the immortal Wolfe at Louisberg in 1758.  In 1759 he was established as a merchant in London and was subsequently called upon to act as Commissary General to the Army in America commanded by Sir Guy Carleton, late Lord Dorchester.  On his return from that service he was elected an Alderman of the City of London and one of its representatives in parliament, and continued Member of the House of Commons till he was appointed to the situation of Commissary General to the Army under His Royal Highness the Duke of York, acting on the continent of Europe.  In 1796 he was chosen Lord Mayor and in 1803 created a baronet of the United Kingdom.  He died in 1807, an Alderman of the City of London, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, &c, &c thus shewing that a high sense of integrity and rectitude with a firm reliance on an over ruling providence united to activity and exertion are the sources of public and private virtue and the road to honours and respect.  The picture was painted by John Singleton Copley Esq. Royal Academician in the year 1778.

    John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

     
     
    1. airyairyquitecontrary reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    2. thebigpicture2012 reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    3. hag666 reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    4. rawrjaimee reblogged this from mattlodder
    5. mattlodder reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    6. velveteenunicorn reblogged this from jeremyhush
    7. jeremyhush reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    8. ovarian-fyst reblogged this from caravaggista
    9. northwangerabbey reblogged this from randaroyce
    10. dsalvatorecosta reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    11. daysofsilence reblogged this from caravaggista
    12. peakcapitolism reblogged this from yuliadit
    13. yuliadit reblogged this from wtfarthistory and added:
      My favorite shark in art history
    14. konguloarkonan reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    15. beethovensdeafjam reblogged this from caravaggista
    16. randaroyce reblogged this from caravaggista
    17. guaa reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    18. caravaggista reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    19. kaon4shi reblogged this from wtfarthistory and added:
      talented painter. His portraits are just amazing.
    20. caravaggia reblogged this from wtfarthistory
    21. paintedfire said: This is one of my favorite paintings, and the first that I wrote an academic paper on in college :D
    22. wtfarthistory posted this