The Evening of the Deluge (c.1843)

Turner, Joseph Mallord William (1775-1851)

The Evening of the Deluge
Oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

A butter-yellow sky fills the top two-thirds of this square landscape painting while in the bottom third, a brown structure is surrounded by golden yellow and pine-green forms like clouds. The scene is loosely painted with visible brushstrokes, so much of the detail is indistinct, and the view seems hazy. Clouds spiral around the sun or moon, painted as a pale yellow disk, hanging in the center of the sky. The golden yellow clouds near the center darken to slate gray then rust brown, and nearly wine red along the top edge. A flock of birds painted as a dense band of navy and denim-blue Vs curve around the sun and continue into the deep distance. Below, touches of burgundy red and brown could indicate people or animals around the arched, copper-brown structure. Cloud-like puffs in forest green and golden yellow could be a forest or wildly crashing waves. A few faint outlines in this area suggest a bear, crocodile, giraffe, and maybe other ghostly creatures. (NGA)