Flemish Apocalypse

Flemish Apocalypse f. 9r, The seven angels receive the seven trumpets, the angel censes the altar and the first four plagues

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f. 9r, The seven angels receive the seven trumpets, the angel censes the altar and the first four plagues

This miniature depicts the first four of the seven plagues. At the top to the right, an angel distributes the seven trumpets. God is seated amidst the angels, above the altar in heaven. In his left hand he holds an open book, and his right hand is raised in a gesture of speech. The altar is covered by a cloth and five heads can be seen in the arched opening underneath. To the right of God, an angel censes the altar with a golden censer. In his left hand, he holds a golden box. Five angels hang in the lower clouds. The angel on the far left pours fire from a censer upon the earth. Then, from left to right, four angels blow their trumpets. When the first angel blows his trumpet, hail and fire mingled with blood fall on the earth. Trees break in two and people panic. The second angel blows his trumpet and fire falls like a mountain upon the sea, destroying one third of what is on and in the sea. The sinking of the ships has been depicted realistically: masts break, sails and sailors are swept overboard and dead fish with wide-open jaws float by. A large, burning star falls to earth at the sound of the third trumpet. The fourth angel blows with bulging cheeks and one third of the sun and one third of the moon are struck. John sits at the bottom of a hill and watches the events. He no longer has a nimbus behind his head but a ring of golden rays like the four trumpeting angels and the angel emptying the censor upon the earth.


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