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

7 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

That painting has it ALL! Beautiful! Thanks for telling the story, too.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Stunning. Just stunning.

downtown guy said...

I saw that on Uncertain Times and had to catch my breath.

May said...

Ye Gods! The fact that the shark looks oddly human makes it even more frightening. When I clicked on it to see it better I had to squinch my eyes at first, just in case it was too much for me to handle. I braved it. I looked at the whole thing. BLAR! If this ever happens to me you better be in that damn boat with a motherfucking spear. That's all I got to say.

downtown guy said...

If this ever happens to me, I'm one gone cookie. And sharks shouldn't have lips!

white rabbit said...

Why is the boy naked when everyone else is fully clothed? Did the shark make him take his clothes off?

downtown guy said...

Skinnydippin!