Rainbows in Art

“Das Zeichen des Bundes” from the Genesis section of the Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch (ca. 1552) — Source.

Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife,
Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray!
(Lord Byron, The Bride of Abydos)


Depictions spanning more than 800 years – in chronological order – of that most enigmatic of weather phenomena, the rainbow: from Noah’s sign and the Book of Revelation, through to 18th-century optics, the epic landscapes of Romanticism, and modernist abstraction.

Varied, see sources.
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: Varied, see sources.
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arabic rainbow
Illustration of a rainbow in a 13th-century Persian manuscript by Zakariya ibn Muhammad Qazwini — Source.


Detail of a miniature in the upper register, right side, of the Fifth day of Creation, with God creating animals, including a monkey, a deer, a bear, and a lion.
Detail of a miniature from the 14th-century manuscript known as the “Egerton Genesis Picture Book”, picturing the Fifth day of Creation, with God creating animals, including a monkey, a deer, a bear, and a lion — Source.

Detail from a Hans Memling painting depicting scenes from The Book of Revelation
Detail from a Hans Memling painting depicting scenes from The Book of Revelation, 1479 — Source.

Miniature in the Ottheinrich Bible (ca. 1530), depicting The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, on of whom is brandishing a rainbow
Miniature in the Ottheinrich Bible (ca. 1530), depicting The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, on of whom is brandishing a rainbow — Source.


John and the Angel
John and the Angel, from the Book of Revelation section of the Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch (ca. 1552) — Source.


Allegory of water, personified by Venus, part of an album by Adriaen Collaert, after Maerten de Vos, ca. 1580
Allegory of water, personified by Venus, part of an album by Adriaen Collaert, after Maerten de Vos, ca. 1580 — Source.

Noah, Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608
Image depicting the Story of Noah, with the rainbow of the covenant, from the Trevelyon Miscellany, 1608 — Source.

Tinted drawing of Book 2, Emblem X: Cum severitate lenitas (Severity with Mercy) represented by a storm cloud and a rainbow.
Emblem for Cum severitate lenitas (Even in harshness there is mercy) represented by a storm cloud and a rainbow, from a book of emblems by Henry Peacham, ca. 1610 — Source.


Fishing for Souls, Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, 1614
Fishing for Souls by Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne, 1614. To the left are the Protestant north Netherlanders, and to the right the Catholic southerners. Both parties fish for souls in the wide river dividing them — the Protestants’ catch greater than that of the Catholics — Source.

Weigel, Christoph. Ethica Naturalis seu Documenta Moralia e Variis rerum Naturalium proprietatibus Virtutum Vitiorumq symbolicis imaginibus collecta. Neurenberg: Christoph Weigel: c. 1700.
Man before a rainbow, in Christoph Weigel’s Ethica Naturalis seu Documenta Moralia e Variis rerum Naturalium proprietatibus Virtutum Vitiorumq symbolicis imaginibus collecta (ca. 1700) — Source.

rainbow and a warrior standing on a cloud attacking three monsters
Image from an alchemical manuscript by an unknown author, ca. 1725 — Source.


Plate LXVI from Scheuchzer's Physica Sacra (1731).
Plate LXVI from Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s Physica Sacra (1731) — Source.


Landscape near Rome during a Storm Artist:Simon Denis
Landscape near Rome during a Storm (ca. 1786–1806) by Simon Denis – Source.


william blake
Design 51, “The Progress of Poesy”, from William Blake’s The Poems of Thomas Gray (1797–98) — Source.


Jerusalem, Plate 14,
Plate 14 from William Blake’s Jerusalem (1804–1820), “One hair nor particle of dust….” — Source.


Meteorology: a double rainbow over fields in the country. Engraving by Royce, 1805.
Engraving by Royce from 1805, showing a double rainbow over fields in the country — Source.


Mountain Landscape with Rainbow (1809–10) by Caspar David Friedrich
Mountain Landscape with Rainbow (1809–10) by Caspar David Friedrich — Source.


Color drawings of a rainbow at sea and on land. With inscription. Part of the sketchbook of Jan Brandes, Vol. 1 (1808)
Colour drawings of a rainbow at sea and on land, from the sketchbook of Jan Brandes, Vol. 1 (1808) — Source.


Heroic Landscape with Rainbow Artist:Joseph Anton Koch (Austrian, Obergibeln bei Elbigenalp 1768–1839 Rome) Date:1824
Heroic Landscape with Rainbow (1824) by Joseph Anton Koch — Source.


The Battle of Dürnkrut and Jedenspeigen (ca. 19th century), unknown artist though is initialled with
The Battle of Dürnkrut and Jedenspeigen (ca. 19th century), unknown artist though is initialled with “SM” — Source.


Print made by Day & Co., 1824–1913, British unknown artist after Thomas Baines, 1820–1875, South African Title  The Falls from the Western End of the Chasm
The Falls from the Western End of the Chasm (1856), print made by unknown artist after Thomas Baines — Source.


Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q366212 Details of artist on Google Art Project Title  Rainy Season in the Tropics wikidata:Q20198471 Object type  Painting Date   1866
Rainy Season in the Tropics (1866) by Frederic Edwin Church — Source.


double rainbow Coloured lithograph by R.H. Digeon, 1868, after E. Ronjat. 1868 By: Étienne Antoine Eugène Ronjat after: René Henri Digeon
Coloured lithograph, 1868, depicting a double rainbow, by René Henri Digeon after Étienne Antoine Eugène Ronjat — Source.


Alexei Savrasov (1830–1897) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q353008 Title  Landscape with a Rainbow Date   1881
Landscape with a Rainbow (1881) by Alexei Savrasov — Source.


Félix Bracquemond (French, Paris 1833–1914 Sèvres) Date:after 1885 Medium:Color lithograph
Colour lithograph by Félix Bracquemond, after 1885 — Source.


Wassily Kandinsky Cossacks or Cosaques 1910–1
Cossacks (1910–11) by Wassily Kandinsky — Source.


Rainbow Obstacle (Hindernis Regenbogen) Artist:Moriz Jung
Rainbow Obstacle (Hindernis Regenbogen), by Moriz Jung, 1911 — Source.


Paul Klee With the Rainbow - 1917
With the Rainbow (1917) by Paul Klee – Source.





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