Flemish Apocalypse

Flemish Apocalypse f. 13r, The temple in heaven and the Woman in the sun and the seven-headed dragon


f. 13r, The temple in heaven and the Woman in the sun and the seven-headed dragon

This miniature depicts the tale of the Woman and the seven-headed dragon. The text of chapter 12 opens with the description of the temple in heaven, a passage that now constitutes the last verse (19) of chapter 11. As the temple, a Gothic church set in the upper right corner, opens to show the ark of the testament, thunder and lightning, an earthquake and a shower of hail occur. Most of the miniature is covered by the flashes of lightning and large, white hailstones. To the left of the church building lies the Woman on a bed of sunrays. The moon supports her feet and on her head is a crown with twelve white stars. Beneath the Woman flies a seven-headed, red dragon with ten horns. The dragon preys on the child the Woman has given birth to and in order to protect him, she hands her child over to an angel. The dragon then enters into battle with Michael and his angels. A youthful Michael, wearing a breastplate over his hauberk, raises his falchion above his head while protecting his body with a large, bossed shield with a spiked tip. Even though he is in full armour he goes barefoot. Two small angels assist him. When the dragon is defeated and falls from heaven he persecutes the Woman, but an angel fits her with large wings and she flees into the desert, pictured here as a dense wood of small trees. The dragon tries to sweep the Woman away by vomiting a flood of water. The Woman, however, is not harmed by the flood of water because the earth opens up and swallows it.

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