John Martin (1789–1854) is one of the most extraordinary figures in British art. His dramatic paintings depicted catastrophe, war, apocalypse, and nature on an epic scale and appealed to a wider and more diverse audience than had ever previously been engaged by art. These works continue to reverberate, having long influenced Hollywood directors, science fiction writers, and other artists. Martin was one of the first artists to exploit the possibilities offered by printed reproductions; Engravings of his paintings were widely available and hugely popular, shocking the art establishment of his day. This first comprehensive book on Martin in many years examines the critic’s idea of the proper role of the artist, questioning Martin’s place in art history as well as our own ideas of “good” and “bad” taste, “high” and “low” art.