John Singer Sargent

The Plains of Esdraelon


Not on display

John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 711 × 1105 mm
Presented by the heirs of Mrs Ormond 1957

Display caption

The Plains of Esdraelon (or Jezreel) extend from the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan river in present day Israel. They are sometimes called the valley of Megiddon, anglicised as ‘Armageddon’, the battlefield in the New Testament where the powers of good and evil fight at the end of the world.Sargent first visited the Holy Land in 1905–6, to make studies which would lend cultural and topographical authenticity to his biblical paintings. However, unlike artists Holman Hunt or James Tissot, his interest was not one of intense religious belief, but a romantic fascination with exotic locations and with ancient customs.

Gallery label, May 2007

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Catalogue entry


Not inscribed.
Canvas (two equal vertical sections on relining canvas), 28×43 1/2 (71×110·5); a 2 1/2 (6·25) painted strip turned over at top.
Presented by the heirs of Mrs Ormond 1957.
Coll: Miss Emily Sargent until 1936.
Exh: Watercolours by John S. Sargent, R.A., Carfax & Co. Ltd, June 1908 (24), as ‘Plain of Esdraelon’ - oil; 53rd Autumn Exhibition, Liverpool, September–December 1925 (134); R.A., winter, 1926 (517).
Lit: Charteris, 1927, p.297; Mount, 1955, pp.302, 448; Mount, 1957, pp.246, 358.
Repr: Tate Gallery Report 1956–57, 1957, n.p.

The Plains (or Plain) of Esdraelon (Megiddo) in Palestine lie between Harosheth and Haphraim on the north-west and south-east sides, and Legio and Nazareth on the south-west and north-east sides respectively. They extend for approximately twenty miles and are about fifteen miles broad at their widest point. (For details of dating, etc., see T00124.)

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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