top of page

"When It Rains Fire, It Pours"


Another in our collection of Anonymous's works, demonstrating again her extraordinary range of talent.

The hand-colored etching represents the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the fleeing of the cities by Lot and his daughters led by an angel, and the unfortunate fate of Mabel, Lot's wife. Anonymous has captured perfectly the 13th century's technique of making everybody look like department store mannequins.

Lot's daughters have apparently gotten over their hissy fit at being offered by their father to a crowd of Sodomites for a gang rape. They will later make it up to him by seducing Lot and becoming pregnant by him. We don't see family values like that today, more's the pity.

The centerpiece of the painting is, of course, Mabel's conversion to sodium chloride for having looked back at the burning cities, disobeying God's order not to. God was a strict taskmaster back in those days, and not at all shy about turning people into elements and compounds for the slightest infraction.

One recalls the other Genesis story about Noah's fourth son, who, having asked for the sixth time amid the Deluge if it looked like rain, was changed into a pillar of beryllium for having made the same corny joke more than five times running. Or the incident in Exodus when one of Aaron's daughters pauses to tie her shoelace while being chased through the parted Red Sea by the Pharaoh and his army. God had specifically prohibited the tying of shoelaces en route because he felt it spoiled the smooth flow of the crowd of escaping Israelites. For her impudence she was changed into a cask of herring.

Getting back to Mabel's predicament, God had specifically warned against looking back at the burning cities for reasons he did not disclose. Mabel thought she could get around this command by keeping one eye closed, but God was not fooled one little bit. Lot, after seeing the aftermath of Mabel's conversion, did the pragmatic thing and took her along, as salt was a valuable commodity among the desert tribes.
Acquired thanks to a generous grant from the ex-Soviet Salt Mine Workers Lodge and Supper Club of Solikamsk, Russia.

BACK          NEXT

bottom of page