The Apocalypse of 1313

The Apocalypse of 1313 f. 46r, The sea of glass (Ap. 15, 1-4)


f. 46r, The sea of glass (Ap. 15, 1-4)

After the harvest and vintage of the nations, symbols of the Last Judgement, John (f. 45v), with an uplifted face and open hand to indicate that he witnesses astounding things, sees in heaven a great and marvellous sign: the seven angels bearing the seven last plagues. Standing upon the clouds surrounding the golden sky, these seven angels hold the punishments represented by stars of gold, except for the fourth which is orange. The raised, slender wings of the heavenly messengers overlap the frame, reminding us that neither time nor space exist in the vision. Stretching out beneath the clouds are the green waters of the sea of glass tinged red by the fire mixed in it. For the Apocalypse commentator the sea of glass is the purifying water of baptism and the fire is the Holy Ghost’s fire “that burns away sins”. Seven musicians sitting on the waves as if on dry land play their instruments to honour the glory of God. Several harps and a citole, viol, psaltery and organ accompany the canticles of Moses and the Lamb:

“Great and wondrous are thy works,  Oh Lord God master of all;  Right and just are thy paths,  Oh Lord of the nations.  Who would not fear, Lord, and would not glorify thy name?  For thou alone art holy;  And all heathens will prostrate themselves before you, For you have sent forth your revenge.”

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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