Large (Wikimedia)

Edward Moran’s ethereally beautiful The Valley in the Sea, which he painted in 1862, is (as the title suggests) a landscape of a very unusual sort.

Full of beautiful little details, The Valley in the Sea depicts the floor of the ocean in eerie jewel tones reminiscent of nothing so much as Max Ernst’s Napoleon in the Wilderness.

While it isn’t surprising that—what with the 19th-century taste for dramatic landscapes in exotic locales—someone hit on the idea of depicting the ocean floor, the Indianapolis Museum of Art makes the intriguing suggestion that “Moran may have been inspired by underwater exploration related to the laying of the first successful telegraph cable in 1858.”