Here's quite a good commentary on Manet's famous painting "The Kearsarge and the Alabama."
The Battle of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama was Edouard Manet's first attempt to paint the sea.
He had not seen the exchange of fire between the two American ships, but, like everyone else in France, he had read accounts of it in the press. Working in his Paris studio from written descriptions, sketches, possibly from photographs, and above all from his imagination, he quickly completed his 4ft-square canvas. Speed was important because, by mid-July, less than a month after the battle, the picture was on public display in a shop window in Paris.
This is from John Keegan's paper, the Telegraph, and registration may be required.