Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lair of the Sea Serpent

Artist:
Elihu Vedder (American, New York 1836–1923 Rome)
Date:
ca. 1899
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
12 x 30 in. (30.5 x 76.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Harold G. Henderson, 1976
Accession Number:
1976.106.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 766
In 1864 Vedder completed a large painting of a huge mythical creature burrowing into a hillock on a sandy shore. Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, that painting was based on a sketch that Vedder reworked thirty-five years later to create this canvas. The sea serpent’s immense size, thick, coiled body, and incongruous placement in a tranquil setting suggest the influence on Vedder of nightmarish demons such as those portrayed by Gustave Doré and Francisco de Goya, especially in the latter’s aquatints published as Los Caprichos in 1799.
Signature: [on stone at lower left]: Elihu Vedder [along left edge]: / copyright 1899
Agnes Tracy Roudebush, New York, 1899–died 1903; her husband's niece, Agnes Roudebush (Mrs. Harold G. Henderson), New York, 1903–died 1955; her son, Harold G. Henderson, New York, 1955–died 1974; his wife, Mary Benjamin Henderson, New York, 1974–1976
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