The Days of Noah
Date: 1860
Medium: Etching
Dimensions: plate: 5 3/8 × 4 1/8 in. (13.7 × 10.5 cm) sheet: 11 1/4 × 8 1/2 in. (28.6 × 21.6 cm)
Credit Line: Acquisition Fund, 2006
Object Number: 2006-55
About: The naïve style of James Smetham, a lesser known figure in the Pre-Raphaelite coterie, is similar to that of the early P.R.B. In Smetham’s images, however, there is a strong mystical and religious intensity that makes them distinct from his contemporaries. This etching is part of a set of 12 seemingly unrelated subjects, which were published as Studies from an Artist’s Sketchbook in 1861–62. The meaning of the imagery in The Days of Noah is not immediately apparent. The biblical reference, “All things continue as they were” (2 Peter 2:4), which appears beneath the image, adds little to our understanding.
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