This painting depicts a rocky shoreline buffeted by a violent sea storm. The wind whips the sea into broad waves which erupt into white spume against the coast, amalgamating the jagged rock formations with the raging foam.
It is a theatrical, energetic and dramatic work that is largely dominated by dark clouds that gather momentum as they swirl above the sea. The massing clouds are emphasised by the accompanying patches of golden light which illuminate the sky in the top right and bottom left corner of the sky composition.
It is possible that the form found in the middle of the work is a part of a shipwrecked vessel? Has it rolled in the giant swell after coming perilously close to the rugged coast and has now been claimed as a victim of the elements? This painting follows an established narrative for paintings of shipwrecks. Typically, in such scenes, the sorry state of one vessel, which has been shattered on the rocky shore, serves as a warning to others which sail desperately close to the jagged cliffs.