Rainbows in Art

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.

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