The Edge of Doom
On View: Beaux-Arts Court, East, 3rd Floor
In The Edge of Doom, Samuel Colman paints the ultimate disaster: the destruction of the world. Lightning was particularly suited for evoking the emotions of awe and terror associated with the Sublime notion of nature. Here, it strikes erratically, blasting classical buildings, carriages, paintings, and even Time (a figure with an hourglass and scythe) to create a central glowing void. All that survives is the memorial sculpture of William Shakespeare, then and now on view in London’s Westminster Abbey.
Oil on canvas
54 x 78 1/2 in. (137.2 x 199.4 cm)
Frame: 72 x 96 x 7 1/2 in. (182.9 x 243.8 x 19.1 cm) (show scale)
Signed and dated lower right: "S. Colman 1836" and "S. Colman 1838"
Inscribed lower center, on plinth:
"The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Leave not a rack behind"
Text from Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, Scene 1, lines 151-156.
Bequest of Laura L. Barnes, by exchange
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Samuel Colman (British, 1780-1845). The Edge of Doom, 1836-1838. Oil on canvas, 54 x 78 1/2 in. (137.2 x 199.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Laura L. Barnes, by exchange, 69.130
overall, 69.130_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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