Aivazovsky, I. K.
The magnificence and treachery of the sea are summed up in this powerful image. The seething surface of the water is carefully observed as it overwhelms the victims of a wreck. In the detail [next image], one can glimpse the horrible drama of a large vessel, its flag still flying, sinking beneath the churning waves. The survivors, dwarfed by the forces which engulf them, have their fate still in question, and it is this fate which the artist ponders in the painting.