Apr 15, 2010

A Man Playing a Harp with other Figures beside a Lake

A Man Playing a Harp with other Figures beside a Lake


John Martin

(British, 1789–1854)

Brown wash with graphite

Sheet: 19.7 x 26.8 cm (7 3/4 x 10 9/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1997.39



Martin is best known for his grandiose, apocalyptic visions of approaching doom, drawn from the Bible or mythology. But these two landscapes, created as pendants, reveal a less known aspect of his work. Martin executed a number of small landscape studies in a distinctive stippled technique, allowing him to render extraordinary detail. The mood of these landscapes is subdued; classical figures recline and play music beside a tranquil lake. However, their anthropomorphic trees and the suggestion of the vastness of the surrounding landscape foreshadow what was to become Martin’s central theme: the smallness and helplessness of man against the infinite powers of the universe.

See also
DR - British
Type of artwork: 

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