John Martin – Apocalypse – Tate Britain

Went to the John Martin exhibition this weekend and loved the way in which they presented The Last Judgement Triptych:

The works were presented so that you sat in front of them on benches. The lights went out and there were voices speaking as though they were from the 1800’s voicing the reactions of people when they first saw the paintings back then.

The lights then went up to reveal the paintings in all their glory. Next they digitally manipulated the paintings, so that they looked like flaming ash was falling from the rocks, or that the water was rippling.

I found the whole experience really brought the paintings alive and was a pleasant difference to quietly viewing the paintings alone.

Purely for how beautiful this painting was, it was my favourite of the show:

Arthur and Aegle in the Happy Valley, 1849

The cinematic quality of the paintings is stunning and I will be looking further into film that has taken inspiration from Martin’s work.

For example Intolerance, 1916, which used the scenery from Belshazzar’s Feast, 1826 needs to be looked into as I imagined all the fantastical works coming to life as films whilst going round the exhibition.

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