The Deluge by Francis Danby ARA, 1793-1861. Oil on canvas, 2845 x 4521 mm. Exhibited 1840. Accession number: T01337. Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1971. Click on image to enlarge it.

Danby made his name with epic subjects, often on a large scale. This was his last. The subject is from the Old Testament book of Genesis. God sends a flood to punish mankind’s wickedness but allows Noah and his family to be saved. Noah’s ark is in the background, illuminated by a shaft of moonlight. A stormy sea rages round a rocky peak and massive tree branches, to which humans and animals are clinging desperately. A blood-red sun can be seen setting to the left. In the lower right hand corner, an angel weeps over the death of a child. [Tate online caption] — George P. Landow


Adams, Eric. Francis Danby, Varieties of Poetic Landscape. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973.

Landow, George P. "Related Paradigms: The Deluge, Odysseus, and Rainbows," Images of Crisis: Literary Iconology, 1750 to the Present. Boston and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.

Last modified 13 May 2016