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Creation of Light, from John Milton's Paradise Lost, Book 7, line 339

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Creation of Light, from John Milton's Paradise Lost, Book 7, line 339

1824
19th century
27.6 cm x 37.4 cm (10 7/8 in. x 14 3/4 in.)

John Martin (Haydon Bridge (Northumberland), England, 1789 - 1854, Douglas (Isle of Man)) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, English
Medium and Support: Mezzotint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of the Still Water Foundation, 1996
Accession Number: 1996.271

Martin was one of the first artists to apply the mezzotint technique to steel. A rocker, a tool with a curved serrated blade, is used to roughen the entire surface of a copper plate, creating burrs, or tiny hooks of metal, that hold ink for printing. Flattening out the burrs with a burnisher, a small spoon-like tool, creates smooth areas that print white. This process lends itself perfectly to the subject: the sun, moon, stars, lightning, billowing clouds, and figure of God are made visible by eliminating black.

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