In 1841, a pair of oils on canvas deals with these two extreme aspects of supernatural life in the exhibition at the Royal Gallery. It also demonstrates the artist's ability to illustrate opposite effects: happiness and horror.
The very dark and sinister Pandemonium displays Satan's capital. This oil on canvas 123 x 184 cm in its original artist's frame was sold for £ 1.65M including premium by Christie's on February 19, 2003 and entered the Louvre in 2006.
Its pendant, The Celestial city and the River of bliss, 123 x 194 cm, is estimated £ 2M for sale by Sotheby's in London on July 8, lot 57.
The city of perpetual happiness floats above the bend of a river in paradise. Object of desire to the dead of the Last Judgment, it is barely visible, like a halo in the clouds. The angel knows the way: it goes straight, carrying a character in its flight.
The art of John Martin was lucrative but his dreamlike themes do appear as a distant precursor of surrealism. Glenn Brown did not miss it. Diverting an Apocalyptic scenery by Martin, he entitled his own artwork The Tragic Conversion of Salvador Dali. The market likes contemporary art. This oil on canvas 222 x 323 cm painted in 1998 was sold for £ 5.2 million including premium by Sotheby's on June 26, 2012.