A Man Playing a Harp with other Figures beside a Lake

John Martin (British, 1789-1854)1820

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

Martin is best known for his grandiose, apocalyptic visions of approaching doom, drawn from the Bible or mythology. But these two landscapes, created as pendants, reveal a less known aspect of his work. Martin executed a number of small landscape studies in a distinctive stippled technique, allowing him to render extraordinary detail. The mood of these landscapes is subdued; classical figures recline and play music beside a tranquil lake. However, their anthropomorphic trees and the suggestion of the vastness of the surrounding landscape foreshadow what was to become Martin’s central theme: the smallness and helplessness of man against the infinite powers of the universe.

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  • Title: A Man Playing a Harp with other Figures beside a Lake
  • Creator: John Martin (British, 1789-1854)
  • Date Created: 1820
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 19.7 x 26.8 cm (7 3/4 x 10 9/16 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1997.39
  • Medium: brown wash with graphite
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: England, 19th century
  • Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
  • Collection: DR - British
  • Accession Number: 1997.39

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