The Deluge. Artist: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Engraver: Hager [or Jager], signed lower right. Source: Die Bibel in Bildern, Plate 17. Click on image to enlarge it.

And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 18And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. [Genesis 7:18-25; King James Bible; Schnorr's illustration cite only the line I have put in bold type.]

Schnorr does his usual fine job with the figures, but the crude notion of having angels dumping buckets of water from the heavens is not only pretty silly but unscriptural, which is a bit odd for this literalist project, as is the giant angel who sits on the roof of Noah’s ark, waving at the dying people (or the reader). The waves at the lower left that appear carved or cast in stone also detract from the illustration’s success. The Deluge is of course a very common subject for dramatic, even sublime, paintings and illustrations. — George P. Landow

Related material including representations of the Deluge

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Die Bibel in Bildern [Picture Bible] von Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Leipzig: Georg Wigands, 1860. Hathi Digital Trust Library online version of a copy in the Columbia University Library. Web. 25 June 2016. — George P. Landow.

Last modified 27 June 2016