John Martin ‘The Last Judgement’, 1853
Oil paint on canvas. Support: 1968 × 3258 mm. Frame: 2400 × 3685 x 175 mm
This and two other pictures, The Great Day of His Wrath (Tate Gallery N05613) and The Plains of Heaven (Tate Gallery T01928) compose a triptych, and are the last major works Martin produced before his death. They are generally considered among his most important achievements, possibly his masterpiece. The subjects are taken from The Book of Revelation. The Last Judgement illustrates the central event of the Book, and is composed from various passages in the narrative. On a throne in the heavens sits God in judgement, surrounded by the four and twenty elders. The four angels have sounded their trumpets after the opening of the Seventh Seal. Below on the right the forces of evil commanded by Satan are defeated; the armies of Gog and Magog tumble into the bottomless pit. To the left on Mount Zion are the good, already in the ‘plains of heaven’ and awaiting the call to appear before the throne.