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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

- December 21, 2012 in apocalypse, book of revelation, collections, commentary on the apocalypse, end of the world, four horsemen of the apocalypse, Images, Images-15th, Images-16th, Images-18th, Images-19th, Images-Illumination, Images-Painting, Images-Pre15th

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described by John of Patmos in his Book of Revelations, the last book of the New Testament. The chapter tells of a “‘book’, or ‘scroll’, in God’s right hand that is sealed with seven seals”. The Lamb of God, or Lion of Judah, (Jesus Christ) opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons forth four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment. The White Horse I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come and see!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. ( Revelation 6:1-2) The Red Horse When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second [...]

The Beatus of Facundus (1047)

- April 9, 2012 in beatus, beatus de facunda, beatus of liebana, illustrated beatus, Images, Images-Illumination, Images-Pre15th, non-article

In the the 8th century, in a monastery in the mountains of northern Spain, 700 years after the Book of Revelations was written, a monk named Beatus set down to illustrate a collection of writings he had compiled about this most vivid and apocalyptic of the New Testament books. Throughout the next few centuries his depictions of multi-headed beasts, decapitated sinners, and trumpet blowing angels, would be copied over and over again in various versions of the manuscript. Below is a selection of images from one such manuscript known as the Beatus de Facundus (or Beatus de León), dating to 1047 and painted by a man called Facundus for Ferdinand I and Queen Sancha. It is composed of 312 leaves and 98 miniatures. For more images and higher res versions please visit the Wikimedia Commons page.

John Williams, author of The Illustrated Beatus, explores more in his article for The Public Domain Review, “Beatus of Liébana“.

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