Shade and Darkness – the Evening of the Deluge (1843) by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Shade and Darkness - the Evening of the Deluge - Turner, Joseph Mallord William - 1843

Artwork Information

TitleShade and Darkness - the Evening of the Deluge
ArtistJoseph Mallord William Turner
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions78.5 x 78 cm
Current LocationTate Gallery, London
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About Shade and Darkness - the Evening of the Deluge

Joseph Mallord William Turner’s painting, Shade And Darkness: The Evening Of The Deluge, is a companion piece to Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – The Morning After the Deluge (1843). It was exhibited at the Royal Academy along with its paired work. Here, Turner takes the theme of biblical demise and pairs it with his Romantic views on landscape. Alongside the figure of Noah, we see an exhausted sea – a metaphor for man’s struggle to live up to God’s expectations. There’s an underlying idea that even in despair there lies hope.

Turner travels back to 1819 for his painting S. Giorgio Maggiore: Early Morning. This time he depicts Venice in all its glory by using light and shadow to bring out the detailed elements of the city. While most of his contemporaries chose not-abstract elements such as architecture and religious themes, Turner unique style shows evidence of the Romantic movement’s exploration into nature-inspired art. While the work is expressive in its range of colors and tones, he conveys an uncanny balance between texture and message as well as light and darkness which appears to reflect his own reflective views on life itself.

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