1/26/11

John Martin, Paradise Lost - The Fall of the Rebel Angels (Book 1)


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Date: 1825
Technique: Mezzotint, 35.0 x 25.1 cm

...the Almight Power / Hurdled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition; there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.


The English painter and graphic artist John Martin (179-1854) did a sequence of large mezzotint sheet on the famous epic Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674). Martin's 24 illustrations depict the Fall of Man and Adam and Eve being driven from the Garden of Paradise as a violent battle between divine and devilish forces. Martin made masterly use of the potential of the mezzotint, contrasting dark black velvety planes with bright light areas and thereby underscoring the dramatic aspect of the scenes. His striking images became models for artists such as Gustave Doré and William Strang, who in the late 19th century created their own sequences of illustrations of Paradise Lost.

Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

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