The Art of the Sublime

John Martin The Plains of Heaven 1851–3

John Martin 'The Plains of Heaven' 1851-3
Full screen
John Martin 1789–1854
The Plains of Heaven 1851–3
Oil paint on canvas
support: 1988 x 3067 mm; frame: 2415 x 3485 x 175 mm
Bequeathed by Charlotte Frank in memory of her husband Robert Frank 1974
Tate T01928
This is the second picture in Martin’s triptych. Unlike the others it is characterised by tremendous tranquillity and harmony. In the central panel, The Last Judgement, the good are shown assembling in ‘the plains of heaven’. The celestial landscape
continues into this picture, representing salvation. Martin included a number of poets and artists among the good, who are seen in white on the crest of the hill in the foreground of the picture. Behind them stretches the deep blue expanse of a heavenly lake, filled by the rushing water of the distant falls, and surrounded by majestic mountain scenery.

How to cite

John Martin, The Plains of Heaven 1851-3, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, January 2013,, accessed 06 July 2015.