The Flood

ca. 1600

Oil on copper
Inv. No. 1607

26.5 × 34.8 cm

zur  Biographie

Elsheimer’s nocturnes are among his most sublime pictorial inventions. In the wan light of a storm beneath pitch-black skies, a crowd seeks refuge from the rising floods on a slope at the front left. The horizon cuts through the silhouette of Noah’s ark. In the right foreground, a man and an infant are afloat in a cradle; next to them are women clinging to their belongings. Figures in the middle ground are leading animals behind them as they flee. The group of climbers at the front was inspired by a Caracci engraving, while the overall composition reveals the Venetian influence. The heightened monumentality, however, already points to Elsheimer’s early years in Rome around 1600.

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