John Martin


How to paint an apocalypse

July 11, 2011

John Martin, the lesser known painter of apocalyptic sensations comes to Sheffield, and proves his historic influence.

In front of me I see the triptych; The Great Day of His Wrath, The Last Judgement and The Plains of Heaven, a vivid depiction of Heaven and Hell. His paintings are theatre, drama and amplification. For the people in his time, they were an imagined reality that people craved – they were sensational and closer to heart.

The display at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery shows to great extent the subjects of his works, inspired by the Bible and nature. He failed to his mission of exerting influence on the people of his time in his own country, but his impact on contemporary popular culture is evident especially in films and music. Other than his paintings, the exhibition also includes the screening films such as Clash of the Titans that took inspiration from his works.

While Marquis de Sade is considered the ‘Master of Darkness’, John Martin should certainly be given the title of the Master of Spectacle, not so much in technique as in presentation.

Exhibition at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield from 22 June – 4 September 2011



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