‘Abandon Ship’ is a dramatic, tempestuous, glorious journey through art history. Spectacular paintings have transformed shipwrecks into powerful metaphors for human vulnerability. These works depict fear and bravery, hope and desperation, life and death – and people’s struggle against immense danger. Rocky coastlines and gales could reduce human ambitions to splinters. The sea has always held a special fascination. It carried people to new continents and enabled trade and progress. But the sea, dark and stormy, also represented a threat to human life. This book takes the reader on a journey spanning several centuries, from medieval mythical disasters via Romantic tragedies to shipwrecks in the contemporary realist era.