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The Apocalypse

The Book of the Revelation of St John, commonly known as the Apocalypse, was a popular subject for illustration throughout the Middle Ages. The text, with its predictions of violent turmoil, became increasingly referred to in the approach to the year 1500, when it was widely believed that the world would end.

In 1498, Dürer published editions in both German and Latin of the Book of Revelation, with 15 full-page illustrations, eight of which are displayed here. The vivid and at times terrifying images captured the fears and the imagination of the public. Impressions from the book survive in large numbers, suggesting that Dürer’s publication was extremely popular.