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The emergence of the seascape as a pictorial subject is one of the most distinctive achievements of Dutch art. Simon de Vlieger's imaginative response to the great enterprise of Dutch seafaring resulted in an influential series of tempest scenes in which the artist experimented with the expressive potential of weather and geography.
In this work, a ship founders in treacherous waters off a rocky coast. Monks minister to castaways in a metaphoric reference to the human soul, afflicted by fate and in need of spiritual salvation.