7 Items in this Learning Collection
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The Destruction of Sodom

Accession Number

The Destruction of Sodom

John Martin

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
sepia wash over graphite on cream wove paper, mounted on paper

3 3/8 in. x 5 3/8 in. ( 8.57 cm x 13.65 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of the Estate of Marion Lehr Simpson

Label copy
Gallery Rotations Winter 2014
John Martin
England, 1789–1854
The Destruction of Sodom
Sepia wash over graphite on cream wove paper, mounted on paper
Gift of the Estate of Marion Lehr Simpson, 1962/1.117
This small-scale landscape presents a story from the Book of Genesis (Chapter 19), in which Lot and his daughters are warned to flee Sodom before God destroys it. The composition is dominated by turbulent clouds that appear ready to engulf the city. In the foreground, Lot and his daughters walk along a mountainside, while in the middle ground Lot’s wife is being turned into a pillar of salt—her punishment for looking back at the city after being forbidden to do so by God. In this drawing Martin highlights the destructive power of nature and of the divine. Like other bible illustrations by Martin, this work became popular and was copied by artists in a variety of media.

Subject matter
This drawing depicts the story of Lot and his daughters fleeing the city of Sodom, as told in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible. The UMMA drawing was one of 72 sepia drawings that Martin contributed that were made into wood engravings and included in "Illustrations of the Bible", 1831-1835.

Physical Description
This is a brown ink and wash drawing on a light background that depicts an expansive landscape with three figures in a row in the center area. The foreground shows a rocky, mountainous area with the figures standing on a ledge and square-shaped buildings, or walls, on a rise to the right. One figure is an old man with long white hair and a beard, who is wearing a draped robe and holding a staff. A woman is walking behind him on the path and balancing a vessel on her head. Another woman, behind her, has her arms at her side and looks downward. In the middle and far section of the drawing there is a walled city being destroyed with violent flooding of the city gates and eathquake-like destruction of the buildings. Far down the path a lone woman raises her hands in a gesture of distress. There are turbulent cloud formations in the sky.

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historic buildings
palm tree
vessels (containers)

& Author Notes

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