Humankind has traditionally had a special relationship with the atmospheric characteristics of their environment, especially when it comes to rain. Using unique and expertly developed cases – from prehistoric cave paintings up to the meaning of rain in photography and cinema – this book casts new light on a theme that is both ecological and iconological, both natural and cultural-historical.

Are our current paradigms in the visual studies enough to be able to describe the art and culture surrounding rain in a nuanced way, even to reach Beyond? Considering one does not simply look atthe rain, one looks into the rain? Its effect on the audience is contaminating, it seeps through, elusive and dynamic. In the book, important cultural thinkers from both the past as well as the present are invited to carefully consider these questions with the author. Barbara Baert’s touching essay reveals the capability of humans to combine imagery and fascination into one. Baert’s unique prose makes Looking Beyond the Rain. Magic-Moisture-Medium a profound, bold, and sometimes fervent essay.

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Rain Drops, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Alfred Stieglitz Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1927; Gelatin silver print, 9.2 cm x 11.7 cm; Copyright: ARS / licensed by Viscopy.

Ex-Voto to the Virgin of Zapopan for protection from the rain, Selva Prieto Salazar, date and location unknown