The Art of the Sublime

ISBN 978-1-84976-387-5

John Martin The Great Day of His Wrath 1851–3

John Martin 'The Great Day of His Wrath' 1851-3
John Martin 1789–1854
The Great Day of His Wrath 1851–3
Oil paint on canvas
support: 1965 x 3032 mm; frame: 2400 x 3470 x 175 mm
Tate N05613
Purchased 1945
This painting forms part of a triptych of ‘judgement pictures’ inspired by the description of the Last Judgement in the final book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation. In The Great Day of His Wrath, Martin’s apocalyptic vision closely follows the Biblical account: ‘there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood ... And the heaven departed as a scroll ... and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.’ The earth crashes in on itself, underlining the futility of mankind’s attempts to resist the will of God.

How to cite

John Martin, The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, Tate Research Publication, January 2013,, accessed 27 February 2021.