Sodom and Gomorrah are considered in the Old Testament as places of sin, which were destroyed by God. They are said to have been located in the area of the Dead Sea - in the area that Abraham's nephew Lot settled (Gen 13:10f). Asphalt and sulfur springs appear there, and the Dead Sea itself and its surroundings are also hostile places.

And the LORD brought down brimstone and fire from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and destroyed the cities, and all the coasts thereof, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which was grown in the land. And Lot's wife looked behind him, and became a pillar of salt.

1. Mose 19, 24-26
Lot and his two daughters leave the city, which is burning in the background.

The Middle Low German Bible printed in 1494 by Steffen Arndes (ca. 1450-1519) in Lübeck is considered »the most important vernacular Bible before the Reformation«. It became particularly famous for its illustrations. The two unknown masters involved (called A and B) used light and shadow to create spatiality and perspective.

Bibel, niederdeutsch (1494)
De Biblie mit vtlitigher achtinghe [...].
Lübeck : Steffen Arndes, 19. Nov. 1494.
BFSt: 7 A 7

The Zurich physician, geologist and teacher of mathematics Johann Jacob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) made the attempt to bring the biblical world view in line with increasing scientific knowledge. In his »Copper Bible« all natural phenomena were scientifically explained.

The bible was published from 1731 to 1734 in four volumes with a total of 750 copper plates, all natural phenomena were scientifically explained. The Swiss painter Johann Melchior Füßli (1677-1736) drew the plates according to Scheuchzer's specifications.

On the presented copper plate LXXX with the signature »Lot Weib als Salzsäule« (Lot of Woman as a Column of Salt) the sulfur rain, i.e. the natural disaster, takes up a large part of the picture surface. In the foreground is Lot's woman, who has solidified into a pillar of salt. Three persons, including Abraham, are only recognizable in the distance.

Scheuchzer, Johann Jacob:
Kupfer-Bibel, In welcher Die Physica Sacra, Oder Geheiligte Natur-Wissenschafft Derer In Heil. Schrifft vorkommenden Natürlichen Sachen, Deutlich erklärt und bewährt […].I. Abtheilung.
Augsburg : Pfeffel, 1731.
BFSt: 66 A 4

Chapter selection

Die Darstellung der Sintflut präsentiert wie die meisten Flutbilder die Arche Noah mit einem runden, stark geschweiften Schiffsrumpf, und einen Baum, den Menschen besteigen, um dem Wasser zu entkommen.

The Deluge

Lot und seine beiden Töchter verlassen die Stadt, die im Hintergrund brennt.

Sodom and Gomorra

Doré verwendete gerne die Chiaroscuro-Technik, die hell-dunkle Malerei kontrastiert. Diese Technik wurde in der vorliegenden Illustration zur dreitägigen Finsternis meisterhaft ausgeführt.

The Plagues of Egypt

The Revelation of John

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