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Hogarth’s unfinished oil sketch is an illustration to John Milton’s epic poem, ‘Paradise Lost’. Satan, on the left, confronts Death who bars his way from hell to earth. Between them is Sin, shown as a naked woman. She reveals to Satan that she is his daughter, and that Death is their incestuous child. This is one of the earliest paintings devoted to a subject from Milton and predates Burke's seminal Enquiry into ... the sublime

and the beautiful, 1757, in which this passage from Milton and the description of Death are singled out as an absolute example of the Sublime.

March 2010