John Martin: The Seventh Plague of Egypt

The Seventh Plague of Egypt: John Martin

The story for The Seventh Plague of Egypt by English Romantic painter John Martin is taken from the book of Exodus in the Bible when Moses calls upon God to release on the kingdom of Egypt the seventh plague of thunder and hail so that the Israelites may be freed from slavery.

Moses, on the left with his arms upraised, “And Moses stretched forward his rod toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire rained down onto the earth” seems to command the storm which is exploited by English painter John Martin (1789-1854) in true dramatic and Romantic style as a terrifying tempest that reduces even the magnificent architecture to insignificance. A great expanse of the 1823s The Seven Plague of Egypt is devoted to the broad sweeps of the hailstorm and its destructive force, while the puny citizens flee before the wrath of God.

This is one example of many dramatic biblical paintings created by the artist throughout his lifetime.

John Martin’s The Seventh Plague of Egypt can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the United States who acquired the work in 1960 for £900 from a private collector.

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