‘The Creation of Light’. Mezzotint by John Martin, 1827. 7 x 9 inches. In this cosmological design, God is shown as a colossal figure dividing the light from the dark in a composition that echoes Michaelangelo’s epic image in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican (1512). As in other designs in the series by Martin, the light is a dazzling emanation, a visual metaphor of God’s enlightenment and the power of His creativity. The vast, formless clouds are nevertheless ambiguous, and the whole scene seems both aerial and subterranean at the same time. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Scan and text by Simon Cooke. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.


Milton, John. Paradise Lost. . With mezzotints by John Martin. London: Prowett, 1827.

Created 10 October 2021