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Approach of the Archangel Michael: Martin 1824-26

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  • Title: Approach of the Archangel Michael
  • Author: John Martin
  • Date: 1824-26
  • Medium: Mezzotint
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Inches: 11 x 7 1/2 [Image]
  • Centimeters: 27.94 x 19.05 [Image]
  • Product ID: 4265

From The Paradise Lost of John Milton (pub. 1846), Book 11, Line 226

Following the temptation and fall of man, Adam and Eve witness the Archangel Michael descend to meet them in Paradise. He informs them that they must leave the Garden. However, Michael comforts the two by telling them that God has given them the whole of the earth to roam and still watches over them.

"Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determin, or impose
New Laws to be observ'd; for I descrie
From yonder blazing Cloud that veils the Hill
One of the heav'nly Host, and by his Gate
None of the meanest, some great Potentate
Or of the Thrones above, such Majestie
Invests him coming? yet not terrible,
That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime, whom not to offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.
He ended; and th' Arch-Angel soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape Celestial, but as Man
Clad to meet Man..." 
(Paradise Lost XI.226-40).

John Martin (1789-1854) was an English painter and printmaker known for his dramatic and visionary landscapes and apocalyptic scenes. He showed a talent for drawing as a young man and at the age of 17, moved to London with his master, Italian artist Boniface Musso, where he supported himself by giving drawing lessons and painting watercolor. After sending his first oil painting to the Royal Academy, it was not hung and returned to him. The following year he sent the same painting and this time it was hung in the Great Room. Subsequently, he produced a number of large oil paintings, many of them exhibited.

Martin became known for his grand, imaginative landscapes, often depicting biblical or mythological subjects. Some of his most famous works include "The Great Day of His Wrath," "The Last Judgment," and "The Plains of Heaven," which all convey a sense of impending doom and awe-inspiring power.

Martin's work continued to influence artists in the 19th and 20th centuries, and he remains an important figure in the history of British art.