The eve of the deluge

The eve of the deluge

. People believed for centuries that unexpected appearance of comets was a premonition of war, death and other disasters. Here the arrival of a comet foretells the great flood at the time of Noah. The 1835-36 apparition of Comet Halley may have influenced the artist, John Martin, for he finished this painting a few years later in 1840. (Collection of Her Majesty the Queen.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University