November 23, 2009
Watson and the Shark
The boy in the water, in shock, his right foot gone down the monster's throat! His horrified crew mates racing to his rescue, fighting the chop of the bay, throwing a rope he can't think to grasp, almost tumbling over the side themselves to drag him to safety! The shark circles and strikes again and again, despite the men who battle it!
Later in life, when Watson grew from ship's boy to baronet, his coat of arms displayed the "Latin motto Scuto Divino, meaning "under God's protection," the design places Neptune, god of the sea, at the apex, brandishing a trident to repel an attacking shark, and in the upper left corner of the shield, prominently displayed, is his missing right leg!"
The painting hangs in the National Gallery of Art and the attack took place in Havana, Cuba.
Attack, 1749. Painting, 1778. Artist, John Singleton Copley.
from The National Gallery of Art, seen first (as so often is the case) at the blog Uncertain Times