Laing Art Gallery, Tyne and Wear
Fine Art and Sculpture
1800 – 1899
John Martin’s dramatic pictures made him one of the most famous British artists of the 19th century.
Born in Northumberland, he studied art in Newcastle before moving to London when he was 17. He became known for his huge, theatrical paintings of crisis and destruction, often illustrating Bible stories and ancient history.
This painting is an outstanding example of his style, and illustrates the Bible story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The two cities were destroyed as punishment for the immorality of their people. Only Lot and his daughters, seen hurrying away, were saved. Lot's wife disobeyed God's instruction not to look back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
The fiery red colouring and whirling storm in the sky were frequent features of Martin’s paintings. These scenes captured the imagination of Victorian audiences, and made Martin internationally famous during his lifetime.
By John Martin (1789-1854)
On display at the Laing Art Gallery, Northern Spirit Gallery, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums until October 2013
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