Leonardo became almost obsessed with the ideas of destruction in the last couple years of his life. He drew these scenes of a deluge ravaging the earth. Casually glancing at them they appear to be just squiggly doodles or waves but if you look more closely they are filled with details. Tree’s, ruins, buildings. Some framing lines are left along some of the paper’s back edges, alluding that they were intended to be finished works - or that even though they do not seem very clear or ‘finished’ they were intended to look this way.
'Let there be represented the summit of a rugged mountain with valleys surrounding its base, and on its sides let the surface of the soil be seen to slide, together with the small roots of the bushes, denuding great portions of the surrounding rocks … and let the mountains as they are laid bare reveal the deep fissures made in them by ancient earthquakes … And into the depth of some valley may have fallen the fragments of a mountain, forming a shore to the swollen waters of its river, which, having already burst its banks, will rush on in monstrous waves; and the greatest will strike upon and destroy the walls of the cities and farmhouses in the valley.
Trees and plants must be bent to the ground, almost as if they would follow the course of the gale, with their branches twisted out of their natural growth and their leaves tossed and turned about. Of the men who are there some must have fallen to the ground and be entangled in their garments, and hardly to be recognized for the dust, while those who remain standing may be behind some tree, with their arms around it that the wind may not tear them away; others with their hand over their eyes for the dust, bending to the ground with their clothes and hair streaming in the wind.’ - Leonardo da Vinci