St. John’s Vision of the Seven Candlesticks.
Woodcut, completed by 1498.
Published in Apocalypsis cum figuris.
Nuremberg: Albrecht Dürer, 1511.
Dürer published the Apocalypse, a book with fifteen full-page illustrations, in German and Latin editions of the biblical text in 1498. The exhibited print comes from the second Latin edition of 1511, also published by Dürer. With these prints Dürer transformed the “popular” woodcut craft into an art form of immense descriptive and expressive power. Acclaimed throughout Europe, the Apocalypse exerted a profound influence upon later artists, and it remains one of the world’s most widely admired works of art.
The Book of Revelation begins on the Isle of Patmos, where St. John experiences a vision of a figure surrounded by seven golden candlesticks. With flaming eyes and a sword emanating from his mouth, the heavenly being identifies himself as “Alpha and Omega” and commands St. John to write down all that he is about to see so that he may send it to the seven earthly churches symbolized by the candlesticks.