Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin (details)

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin

Oil on canvas, roughly 77 x 120 inches (197 x 303 cm); link is to zoomable image on the Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Tate.

This large painting by the 19th century painter John Martin — who was known for his depictions of monumental and cataclysmic events — is part of a tryptic sometimes known as the “Judgement Series”, along with The Last Judgement and The Plains of Heaven.

It might just as well be interpreted to depict nature’s wrath on a day that sees millions striking for action on climate change, and young people taking the role of the “adults in the room” — reminding us of the folly of turning a blind eye the contribution of human activity to this emergency for the sake of corporate profit.


6 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath

  1. With the proceeds of The Fall of Babylon, Cyrus the Great defeating the Chaldean,
    (not shown here) John Martin could pay off his debts and buy a house in Marylebone (Westminster).

    There were reports of how many people came to see The Great Day of His Wrath. It was the first painting that needed a barrier around it.
    What’s interesting is that many people looked at it not as an artwork but as a vision of biblical truth. The art of Gothic.

  2. Paul Grange Avatar
    Paul Grange

    And now that you’ve assured us of your impeccable creds in the global warming hysteria you can get back to what you actually know about.

    1. Yeah, I forgot, Since I’m not a politician receiving large campaign finance donations from the fossil fuel lobby, I’m not qualified to have an opinion on the overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing the link between CO2 emissions and the acceleration of climate change. Oh wait, I forgot again that the scientific method and empirical evidence are a left wing conspiracy, and the earth is 7,000 years old — and flat.

  3. Your condescending reply to Mr. Grange was unnecessary. No one denies you an opinion, but equating the John Martin painting with climate change as a foregone conclusion is deception. The future, however short or long, cannot be predicted. A real concern is constant uneducated babbling from young people with poor discernment and knee-jerk reactions that show a lack of judgement and wisdom. Sounds like you’re okay with that.

    1. He questioned my right to have and express an opinion without “impeccable creds”, indicated that I could not have knowledge in that area, that I should “get back to what you actually know about”, and labeled concern about global warming “hysteria”. Given that level of insult and ignorance, I thought I went easy on him.

      In many respects, the future can be predicted with some reliability, using careful scientific analysis of the past. The ability to predict results and then verify them by experimental testing is one of the primary ways scientific theories are vetted, and one of the foundations of scientific method. That doesn’t mean you can predict future events at whim, it refers to careful observation and testing of specific and limited actions. However, that includes the analysis of past climate records to predict the effects and rate of climate change.