John Martin

Part of my dissertation was an investigation into what defines the romantic sublime. I looked at a lot of John Martin’s work for this, as his work features many intense, chaotic scenes. The presence of the sublime should ignite sensations of ‘extremes’ in the viewer, such as awe and terror. These are often intended to be experienced simultaneously.

Works by Martin such as ‘The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum’, a painting which I often find myself coming back to, is a prime example of this. A combination of the rich, warm colours and a vortex-like composition create a dramatic experience for the viewer.

The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum 1822, restored 2011 by John Martin 1789-1854


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