The End of the World (painting)

The End of the World (painting)

Infobox Painting



title=The Great Day of His Wrath
artist=John Martin
year= 1851-1853
type=Oil-on-canvas
height= 197
width= 303
height_inch =
width_inch =
museum=Tate Gallery
city= London

"The End of the World", later to be commonly known as "The Great Day of His Wrath", [Michael Wheeler, "Heaven, Hell, and the Victorians", Cambridge University Press, 1994, p.83] is an 1851-1853 oil painting on canvas by the English painter John Martin. [ [http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/m/martin/index.html Martin, John - Biography] ] According to Frances Carey, the painting shows the "destruction of Babylon and the material world by natural cataclysm". This painting, Frances Carey holds, is a response to the emerging industrial scene of London as a metropolis in the early nineteenth century, and the original growth of the Babylon civilization and its final destruction. Some other scholars such as William Feaver see the painting as "the collapse of Edinburgh in Scotland". Charles F. Stuckey is skeptical of the link with Edinburgh. According to the Tate, the painting depicts a portion of Revelation 6, a chapter from the New Testament.

Leopold Martin, John Martin's son, said that his father found the inspiration for this painting on a night journey through the Black Country. This comment has led some scholars to hold that the rapid industrialization of England in the early nineteenth century influenced Martin. According to the Tate, Martin got his inspiration from the book of Revelation.

Some authors have used the painting as the front cover for their books, examples include "Mass of the Apocalypse" [ Peter Dickinson, Mass of the Apocalypse, Novello, London, 1989] and "Studies in the Book of Revelation" [ Steve Moyise, "Studies in the Book of Revelation", Continuum InternationalPublishing Group, 2001 ] .

Description

According to Frances Carey, Deputy Keeper in the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, the painting shows the destruction of Babylon and the material world by natural cataclysm.Frances Carey," The Apocalypse and the Shape of Things to Come", University of Toronto Press, 1999, p.267 ] William Feaver, art critic of the Observer, believes that this painting pictures the collapse of Edinburgh in Scotland. Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat, and the Castle Rock, Feaver says, are falling together upon the valley between them. The Art of John Martin , London, Oxford University Press, 1975, p.6 ] Charles F. Stuckey, professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, however is skeptical about such connections arguing that it has not been carefully proved. Charles F. Stuckey, review of "The Art of John Martin" by William Feaver, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 58, No. 4. (Dec., 1976), pp. 630-632. ] Michael Freeman, Supernumerary Fellow and Lecturer in Human Geography at Mansfield College, describes the painting as follows:Michael Freeman, "Victorians and the Prehistoric: Tracks to a Lost World,Michael Freeman", Yale University Press, p.91 ]

Storms and volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and other natural disasters 'swept like tidal waves through early nineteenth-century periodicals, broadsheets and panoramas'. Catastrophic and apocalyptic visions acquired a remarkable common currency, the Malthusian spectre a constant reminder of the need for atonement. For some onlookers, Martin's most famous canvases of divine revelation seemed simultaneously to encode new geological and astronomical truths. This was ... powerfully demonstrated in "The Great Day of his Wrath (1852)", in which the Edinburgh of James Hutton, with its grand citadel, hilltop terraces and spectacular volcanic landscape, explodes outwards and appears suspended upside-down, flags still flying from its buildings and before crashing head-on into the valley below.

According to the Tate Gallery, the United Kingdom's national museum of British and Modern Art, the painting closely follows a portion of Revelation 6, a chapter from the New Testament of the Bible: [http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=9310&roomid=1384 The Great Day of His Wrath, 1851-3] ]

bquote
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, "there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;"
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; "and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? [Revelation 6:12-17]

History

;Inspiration

Following the completion of a series of his last works (including "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah") and sending them to the Royal Academy, Martin started working on a group of three painting that included "The End of the World". The Dictionary of National Biography, Sidney Lee, p.1169 ] According to Leopold Martin, John Martin's son, his father found the inspiration for this painting on a night journey through the Black Country. Based on this comment, F. D. Klingender argued that this image was in fact a "disguised response to the industrial scene", a claim Charles F. Stuckey is skeptical of. Frances Carey holds that John's underlying theme was the perceived connection between the rapid growth of London as a metropolis in the early nineteenth century, and the original growth of the Babylon civilization and its final destruction.Frances Carey," The Apocalypse and the Shape of Things to Come", University of Toronto Press, 1999, p.264, 267 ] According to the Tate Gallery, Martin was inspired by the book of Revelation from the New Testament.

;Martin's death and exhibitions of the painting

While painting, on 12 November 1853, Martin suffered an attack of paralysis. The attack deprived him of the ability to talk and to control his right arm. Martin died at Douglas in 17 February 1854. At the time of his death, his partially unfinished three painting were being exhibited in Newcastle. [ T. Fordyce, Local Records, 1867, Northumberland (England), p.287 ] After Martin's death, his last pictures (including "The End of the World") were exhibited in "London and the chief cities in England attracting great crowds". The painting was engraved in 1854 (after John Martin's death) by Thomas McLean together with two other paintings by Martin, "Plains of Heaven" and "The last Judgment" (a group of three 'judgment pictures'). Despite wide public reception, the three paintings were rejected as vulgar by the Royal Academy. [Alison Hartley, Art/Shop/Eat London,, W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p.121 ] In 1945, the painting was purchased by the Tate from Robert Frank. [ "The Tate Gallery", 1953, Original from the University of California, p. 26 ]

See also

* John Martin
* English art

References

External links

* [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0004-3079%28197612%2958%3A4%3C630%3ATAOJM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage Brief discussion of artwork]


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