The artist here in the imagery of a naval battle was chiefly concerned to transmit the sky and atmosphere. Olive is the predominant colour even in the sky in which billowing clouds are seen over the low horizon. A large sailing ship in the foreground is riding a rough sea with crested waves.
Further out two ships are sinking, only the tops of their masts and sails are still visible. Space is suggested by the rather sudden way in which the size of ships is decreased in the middle and background. Details in the foreground are clearly painted with plenty of space, but further out everything is mixed in a general melee of sails, masts and flags. The scene is dominated by the wide sky that adds to the general feeling of storm and tension.