Display caption

Pair to 'Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory), The Morning after the Deluge - Moses writing the Book of Genesis'. In these companion pictures, Turner opposes cool and warm colours, and their contrasting emotional associations, as described by Goethe in his 'Farbenlehre' (Theory of Colours). Turner has chosen the biblical Deluge as the vehicle for these ideas, returning to the Historical Sublime he had mastered in some of his earliest exhibition pictures. Originally painted and framed as octagons, this pair carries two of Turner's last and most inspired statements of the natural vortex, while the allusion to Goethe adds a gloss of recent science and theory to a lifetime's preoccupation with elemental forces.

August 2004