Lately in New York (and plenty of other places too), it seems to rain more often than not, and we would be lost without our umbrellas and our rain boots. On June 7, the first tropical storm of this season—whose lilting name Andrea belied her punch—dumped four inches of rain on the city, doubling the record for that day in 1918. Mayor Bloomberg is calling for billions of dollars to shore us up against future events like Andrea, or worse, Sandy.
While we acknowledge the hard truth of climate change, we invite you to pause, take shelter, and consider the upside of rain.
Channel fantastic visions of Noah’s Ark, from the peaceful pairs of animals floating serenely in their barrel-hulled vessel, as shown in a French 16th century illumination, to Jan Brueghel’s baroque fantasy of playful bats and birds, hedgehogs and leopards, where the ark appears as a speck on the horizon and the narrative is secondary to the painter’s masterful display of the luxuriant menagerie. Edward Hick’s orderly procession and his barnlike ark of 1846 are Quakerly in their relative restraint and innocence. Finally, John Martin, ca. 1840, features the celestial rainbow that signaled the end of Noah’s trial.
While the forecast calls for more rain—indeed, we saw intense showers earlier today—our parks have never been greener, our tress lusher, and our reservoirs fuller. We’ll brandish our umbrellas, grab our galoshes and our gear (how about a straw rain suit?), and like our seasoned friends across the pond, keep calm and carry on.
“For the rain it raineth every day” - Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
Nancy Minty, ARTstor Collections Editor
The ARTstor Digital Library is replete with images of Genesis chapters 6-9 (the story of the flood) and other biblical narratives, most particularly the collections of Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (manuscripts and printed books), and the Scala and Erich Lessing Archives(paintings, sculpture and architecture). For an ARTstor bestiary and other naturalia, see the following collections: Cook’s Voyages to the South Seas (Natural History Museum, London), the First Fleet Collection (Natural History Museum, London), the Hill Ornithology Collection (Cornell University Library), and the Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University), as well as the selection of images in “History of Medicine and Natural Sciences” (Browse>Featured Groups>Interdisciplinary Topics>History of Medicine and Natural Sciences).
For rainwear in fashion, browse the collection of the Brooklyn Museum Costumes (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), and the upcoming archive of over 25,000 images from Condé Nast. Weather events and other natural phenomena are given global coverage in the thousands of images from Magnum Photos and Panos Pictures.