One of my favourite paintings in Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery’s collection is Adam and Eve Entertaining the Angel Raphael by John Martin. It is one of the most dramatic, unusual (and largest!) paintings in the collection. Every time I look at it I see something new.
John Martin (1789 -1854) was a painter and engraver who specialised in melodramatic battle and biblical scenes. This work shows a scene from Milton’s poem Paradise Lost. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve meet the Angel Raphael and the angel warns them not to disobey God’s commands and that Satan is plotting to bring about the Fall.
Martin was one of the most popular artists of the nineteenth century, although his popularity later waned. Last year Tate Britain and the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle staged a touring exhibition of his works which helped restore his reputation. The Kirkcaldy Martin featured in this show. A review in The Times described Martin as ‘the painter with the power to stop even a bored teenager in his gallery-traipsing tracks’.
You can see more from the Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery collection of oil paintings on the BBC's Your Paintings website.