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Art and Art History Subject Guide: ARTstor

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The Artstor Digital Library provides over 2 million digital images with new image collections added several times a year. It covers many time periods and subjects including architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, design, anthropology, ethnographic and women's studies, as well as many other forms of visual culture. The database can be searched by Keyword, Creator, Title, Location, Repository, Subject, Material, Style or Period, Work Type, Culture, Description, Technique, and Number.

ArtStor Blog : News, Tips, Discoveries

 artstor blog : news, tips, discoveries

Watson and the Shark: “a most usefull Lesson to Youth”

 

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. Image: Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. Image: Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

On a warm day in 1749, 14-year-old Brook Watson dove into Havana Harbor for a swim. As he floated surrounded by merchant ships, a shark sank its teeth into his leg, pulling him beneath the waves in a vicious, sustained attack that severed his right foot. Bleeding and helpless, he struggled to stay above water as a group of sailors maneuvered a small skiff into position and pulled him from the toothy Behemoth’s mouth. His leg would have to be amputated at the knee, but he survived his ordeal. Nearly thirty years after the incident, John Singleton Copley historicized Watson’s attack in the monumental painting Watson and the Shark.

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