Seascape with Jonah and the Whale
XQG 1966 GIV 50
Gaspard Dughet is associated with the introduction of a new type of landscape, the storm scene, though few surviving works treat the theme. The painting depicts the moment Jonah is thrown into the whale’s mouth (Jonah I: 15-17). Five onlookers, grouped together on a ledge on a rocky coastline, watch in horror as Jonah is thrown into the storm-tossed sea by members of the crew of his ship on the left; in the centre, the whale, with gaping mouth, swims towards Jonah. Dughet has increased the dramatic tension by setting the scene during a thunderstorm. It was perceived as a dramatic expression of the sublime, and the awesome power of nature. This quality and its royal associations made this painting particularly famous during the 18th century. It was reproduced in several prints and two painted copies.