"This," he said, "is the brain."
Medium: Graphite on paper
Dimensions: composition: 11 15/16 × 7 15/16 in. (30.3 × 20.2 cm)
Illustration Citation: Swords of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzana, CA: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., 1936)
Credit Line: Acquired through the bequest of Frieda Becher, 1975
About: Swords of Mars, a science fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was the eighth in his series called Barsoom (his fictional name for the planet Mars). In the foreground, the protagonist John Carter, a mysterious character who does not remember his childhood and over time proves to be immortal, is transported to Mars, where he takes on Martian characteristics in everything except his appearance. Here he listens as a Martian scientist explains his invention: a mechancial brain that will control a spacecraft. The artist portrays Carter in heroic profile pose with defined musculature and the Martian as apparently boneless and enervated in comparison.
St. John was the son of noted floral painter and portraitist Susan Hely St. John (1834-1913). He studied in Paris and New York before settling in Chicago, where he illustrated for McClurg and other publishers in the city. He taught illustration and paitnign at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Although he had a wide ranging career as an illustrator, St. John was most famous for his work for Burroughs' books. He was also sought after for pulp magazines such as Weird Tales and Magic Carpet.
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