Flemish Apocalypse

Flemish Apocalypse f. 14r, The dragon, the seven-headed beast from the sea and the false prophet


f. 14r, The dragon, the seven-headed beast from the sea and the false prophet

John watches the seven-headed beast that came out of the sea receiving the sceptre, which symbolises power, from the red dragon. The seven-headed beast looks like a lion, but has the paws of a bear. Instead of the ten horns mentioned in verse 1, it has only seven: one on each head. In the narrow band of dark blue clouds above the beast hangs the image of the Veronica flanked by two busts of praying angels, painted tone on tone blue. Beneath John is a group of worshippers, including a king, a bishop and a cardinal, kneeling before the seven-headed beast. To the right of this group, the beast leads its heavily armed soldiers to fight against the saints. A tonsured man in a white garment, holding a cross-staff with a pennon charged with a red cross, leads a few clergymen who offer resistance to the beast. In the lower left, a beast, which is the false prophet, emerges from a hole in the earth. It looks like a bear with ram’s horns and is dressed in a monk’s brown habit. Once on the earth, he convinces a group of people to worship the beast from the sea. The false prophet places his paws on the shoulders of the people kneeling in front of a little temple with the image of the seven-headed beast on the altar. The beast from the earth can perform miracles. In the upper left, he causes fire to fall from heaven.

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