The creation of light, 1825
John Martin (1789 - 1854)
RA Collection: Art
This plate illustrates a passage beginning on book 7, line 339 of the poem. At Adam's request, the angel Raphael explains how the world was created, here describing God creating light to separated night from day.
John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, which narrated the Creation and Fall of Adam and Eve, and spanned Heaven, Hell and Paradise, was a suitably epic undertaking to inspire some of John Martin's most important prints. In around 1824 the young publisher Septimus Prowett commissioned Martin to produce a series of mezzotint illustrations to Paradise Lost, for which he was paid the enormous sum of 2,000 guineas.
The prints were first published by subscription, in twelve monthly parts each containing two mezzotints and a section of text which could eventually be bound together to create a complete illustrated volume. The final parts appeared in 1827 (hence the publication dates on the prints, which range from 1825 to 1827).
The impressions in the RA are used to illustrate a later 1846 edition published by Charles Whittingham, meaning that either new impressions were printed from the plates, or earlier impressions were bought up and bound in with the text.
151 mm x 193 mm
The paradise lost of John Milton ; with 24 illustrations by John Martin - London: 1846
Start exploring the RA Collection
- Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
- Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
Our Collection is a record of them.