The Apocalypse of 1313

The Apocalypse of 1313 f. 49r, The fourth and fifth bowls (Ap. 16, 7-11)

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f. 49r, The fourth and fifth bowls (Ap. 16, 7-11)

Still in a rather prostrated pose (f. 48v), John watches the progress of the next two plagues (f. 49). The composition is elegantly symmetrical: the fourth and fifth angels, whose converging movements in the middle of the space are depicted beneath the twin arcatures that separate the ground into two equal areas. The arcatures themselves are divided vertically by the almost heraldic combination of the gold, blue and purple-red ground.
On the left, the contents of the respective bowl are poured upon the sun. Affected by its own heat multiplied tenfold, its rays beat down upon the men vainly trying to shield themselves from its heat. They crouch down in feeble attempts to hide behind whatever they can: bucklers, shields, a wooden board, a piece of cloth or even what looks like a sort of dented basin turned upside-down and used as a large hat. The angel on the right empties the gold bowl above the Beast who remains impassive but opens its seven mouths as if to shout out when plunged into darkness, suggested by the dark blue colour of the ground. Opposite the Beast, the inhabitants of the earth writhe in pain, raising their hands and pulling out their tongues reddened by being bitten in bouts of torment. Blinded by their sins, the wicked take God’s name in vain unceasingly.

Marie-Thérèse Gousset and Marianne Besseyre
Illuminated Manuscripts Research Center, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Fragment of the Apocalypse of 1313 commentary volume


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