NARRATOR: Turner painted this picture, ‘The Deluge’, when he was about thirty. It’s a theme from the Old Testament tackled by many of Turner’s predecessor. Curator David Blayney Brown. DAVID BLAYNEY BROWN: It was a very popular subject in the seventeenth century with artists like Nicolas Poussin, a French painter. It was taken up again in the eighteenth century and then by Romantic artists of Turner’s own generation for its sublime, stormy, dramatic qualities, for the way in which it could depict storm and flood, rather more than because it was a biblical subject. So it wasn’t so much about painting the subject as an illustration but using it as a lens through which to look at the drama and the turbulence of natural forces, which were really what fascinated Turner. NARRATOR: It’s also a subject that required him to paint figures. DAVID BLAYNEY BROWN: And it’s often said about Turner that he wasn’t very good at painting figures, he painted them all the time, they appear in many of his pictures but they are often rather schematic, rather awkward, rather squashed and out of proportion. But in ‘The Deluge’ it really doesn’t matter because of course the figures are swirling around in water and flood, and the whole body doesn’t have to be visible. What one senses instead is of humanity being overcome by the elements, and that’s what we see here.