The thing about images without people in them is that the scope for the plot widens even if the suggestiveness does not. A shipwreck -- and the ship is listing too far for anything else -- could be lots of things. A passenger who escaped the wreck, or the sailor, who needs to cross the country on whatever journey was entailed. A wrecker who wants to aid in looting. Or perhaps the wreck was days ago and the peasants hope to get in on whatever was not worth salvaging in the eyes of the high muckety-mucks. At the very least, the boards can go for firewood.
Title, for those who don't fear it will distract the muse is[Spoiler (click to open)]Ivan Aivazovsky's Moonlit Seascape with Shipwreck. Though that, for once, is perhaps too plain for the muse to be distracted.
Well, this is a sobering situation. Perhaps the king had a fit of bad temper and demanded his fool cheer him up, and then clapped him in prison for being frivolous while his master had weighty matters on his soul.
Title is[Spoiler (click to open)]Ash Wednesday by Carl Spitzweg
So why is she looking so intently at the swan? Is she a swan-maiden? Captive because she lost her cloak to the man holding her prisoner? Trapped in human form for its loss and so on a quest for the knave who brought it to the king as a marvel? Or the wizard who wishes to use its magic? Starting to wonder, on her quest, if she will really leave the knight she persuaded to help her? Or perhaps she's the youngest of the wizard's lovely swan-maiden daughters and her sisters are escorting her off after she saved the prince from the enchantments?
Or the swan could be the enchanted one. Her sister trapped in that form. Or perhaps her true love, who will be caught until she goes through with her arranged marriage.
Perhaps she is even the daughter of the Swan Knight and wondering whether this is the swan that always accompanied her father before her mother asked the forbidden question of where he had come from.
This is[Spoiler (click to open)]an illustration by N. C. Wyeth for a King Arthur book. In which we must assume there are no signficant swans, since there aren't any in the legends.
part of bittercon.