Object Image

The Angel Standing in the Sun

This painting, from late in Turner's career, shows scenes from the Old Testament, the first section of the Bible. In In the centre, Archangel Michael appears with his flaming sword. In the foreground are scenes of murder and betrayal. Adam and Eve cry over the body of their son Abel (left), murdered by his brother, and Judith stands over the headless body of Holofernes (right), who she has decapitated.
Turner's pessimistic picture seems to show death is everywhere. It has been suggested this reflects his concern about how his own life and art would be judged. In a message to his critics, he exhibited the picture with the words, 'the feast of vultures when the day is done.'

Credit: Accepted by ...
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exhibited 1846
Oil paint on canvas
787.0 x 787.0mm
Image and text © Tate Britain, 2022

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Tate Britain
Permanent collection