Belshazzar's Feast, from Illustrations of the Bible

A work made of mezzotint with etching in black on ivory wove paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of mezzotint with etching in black on ivory wove paper.

Date:

1835

Artist:

John Martin
English, 1789-1854

About this artwork

The visionary Romantic painter John Martin’s Illustrations of the Bible (1831–35) boasts some of the most dramatic mezzotints of the 19th century. This series enthusiastically embraced J. M. W. Turner’s “historical” category from the Liber Studiorum (1807–1819). Yet “Mad” Martin eschewed Turner’s sepia tonality for a deep, velvet black periodically ripped asunder by lightning bolts. He engraved over 100 mezzotints, with special attention paid to the light and dark contrasts of Old Testament miracles and disasters. Although the series remained unfinished, his taste for elaborate destruction was sometimes well remunerated: when his gigantic oil painting Belshazzar’s Feast (1821; private collection) was put on view soon after being made, it attracted 50,000 paying viewers.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings

Artist

John Martin

Title

Belshazzar's Feast, from Illustrations of the Bible

Origin

England

Date

1835

Medium

Mezzotint with etching in black on ivory wove paper

Dimensions

190 × 290 mm (image); 268 × 357 mm (plate); 329 × 416 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

Mary S. Adams Endowment

Reference Number

1991.216.7

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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