Between Art Academy and Entertainment Culture: Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, John Martin, and the Sublime
Keywords:The Sublime, Visual Entertainment Culture, Immersion, Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, John Martin
This article discusses the work and the reception of the artists Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740–1812) and John Martin (1789–1854), both in terms of their engagement with art as an academic discipline and in terms of their relationship to the emergent middle-class interest in the consumption of visual spectacle. A central concern in both respects was the aesthetic category of the sublime, which had been established around the mid-eighteenth century as the primary visual mode of experiencing the force and power of nature. De Loutherbourg successfully recreated sublime spectacles (for example, shipwrecks, volcanic eruptions, waterfalls, avalanches) within academy painting and stage design. Later, he invented the Eidophusikon, a multimedia device that was designed to stage dynamic natural phenomena. The Eidophusikon is thought to have influenced London’s pictorial entertainment circle, which proved inspirational for John Martin around half a century later.
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Copyright: The authors and Aarhus University Press