Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council

  • Author: John Martin
  • Date: 1824
  • Medium: Mezzotint with touches of drypoint
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Inches: 10 1/2" x 14"
  • Centimeters: 26.92 x 35.90
  • Price: Sold

John Martin (1789-1854) was an English Romantic painter, engraver, and illustrator who enjoyed great success in his career. He was specifically famous for his illustrative contribution to Paradise Lost, which was published by Septimus Prowitt. He produced 48 mezzotints, 24 for an octavo set and 24 for a larger deluxe set. Mezzotint is a printmaking process from the intaglio family, which is technically a drypoint method that results in the image looking as if it is illuminated from behind. Martin's mezzotints depict a war between light and darkness, and leave us with the memory of an inextinguishable light.

As Judith Brodie observed in Private Treasures: Four Centuries of European Master Drawings, "Martin excelled in all matters concerning scale, miniaturizing his figures by placing them in vast, overwhelming landscapes or compressing . . . huge vistas onto medium-size sheets of paper," and his uncanny mastery of light, dark, mist and shadow in a medium as exacting as was extremely impressive (pg. 194). John Martin was able to elevate Paradise Lost with visual drama and scope, which was a foundation of Romantic art.
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