Royal West of England Academy (Bristol, UK): Fire
Cozens's early work generally resembles that of his father, Alexander, by whom he was taught, both in its imaginary content and in the use of monochrome washes. This composition may have been evolved from an ink 'blot' such as Alexander Cozens recommended his pupils to use so as to free their imaginative powers in drawing. However, John Robert Cozens had in fact seen and sketched rock formations and caves during a trip to Matlock in Derbyshire in 1772. This roundel represents a scene from John Milton's epic poem 'Paradise Lost'. Satan has moved to the edge of the sea of fire, and with his upheld spear calls forth his fallen angels. Cozens was one of the earliest artists in Britain to represent Satan in heroic guise.
Gallery label, September 2004
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