John Martin

When I hear the name, I often think originally of the late John Martyn - the musician who recorded the classic album 'Solid Air' and others, and who I saw quite a few times in various locations including a festival tent, and also at the Crucible Theatre, where he descended the steps of a play which had its scenery set up on the stage already.

John Martin
 was a painter, and a favourite of my former GA colleague Anne Greaves. He created some hugely dramatic images.

Hugely popular in his time, Martin was derided by the Victorian Art establishment as a 'people's painter', for although he excited mass audiences with his astounding scenes of judgement and damnation, to critics it was distasteful. In a sense ahead of this time, his paintings – full of rugged landscapes and grandiose theatrical spectacle – have an enduring influence on today's cinematic and digital fantasy landscapes.

This exhibition presents a spectacular vision, capturing the full drama and impact of John Martin's paintings as they were originally displayed. Just as in the nineteenth century, these epic and often astounding works must be seen to be believed.

Tate, 2012

Martin's paintings anticipate biblical epics and disaster, movies and CinemaScope; sci-fi illustrations, concept albums and heavy metal graphics; Spider Man and the avatars of video games. Film directors have acknowledged the immense debt, from D.W. Griffith to Cecil B. DeMille and Roland Emmerich.

If you get the chance to see his art, then take it.


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