Inspirational Art: John Martin’s Pandemonium

Given the topic of recent posts looking to art concerning Hell for inspiration seems natural. This painting, however, has a second advantage in it is the first subject of this series where I have seen the original in person. John Martin was an English romantic painter of the first half of the 19th century. His paintings, not surprisingly, deal mostly with mythic and Biblical subjects.

Pandemonium is Milton’s Palace of Hell in Paradise Lost. In my first inspirational book for City States of the Apocalypse Blish follows Dante’s vision of Hell. In fact, the city of Dis is called forth into the world in part of the novel. I would like to bring that idea forward to the CSotA but perhaps not with Dante.

Looking at this painting we get great ideas for the trapping of devils in the setting. The hosts of Hell look more Greek than Medieval. Perhaps the ceremonial wear of those who follow the Devil would be not that of a friar or priest, but a hoplite. Given the Fallen are fallen angels can we use their imagery for powers of light of well and how their followers, at least those in the field and outside of monasteries, should appear. I would remind readers that modern Catholic ecclesiastical garb is inspired by that of Roman courtiers, a by-product of the Church’s place in the late empire.

Paladins as hoplites instead of knights. I think I’ll run with that.