The Apocalypse of 1313

The Apocalypse of 1313 f. 45r, The Judgement of the nations (Revelation 14: 17-20)

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f. 45r, The Judgement of the nations (Revelation 14: 17-20)

In the upper register, the artist has once again depicted the angel emerging from the heavenly temple and executing the order received to cut the nations down with his scythe. The sharp silver blade somewhat tarnished by rust, beheads several figures at a single stroke in a spray of blood. This spectacle makes the mounts of the three riders arriving from the city shown on the right falter. These horses startled by the sight of the carnage are iconographic substitutes of the horses in the Apocalypse turning the wheel in the press of God’s wrath that overflows with blood and covers the animals up to their bridles. Hence, whilst transposing the image, the painter sought to retain a certain number of descriptive elements such as the horses and the city.

The clouds in the lower register retreat sending out flames and revealing a golden ground where Christ at the Last Judgement is depicted inside a pearl-strewn mandorla, surrounded by the instruments of his Passion and showing his wounds from which the redeeming blood flows. After the reaper angel “puts an end to the ungodliness of the creatures of the earth” and casts out “the treacherous who lived with the righteous in the city of the Church”, the righteous approach the Son of man to adore him.

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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