Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Albrecht Dürer German

Not on view

The third woodcut from Dürer’s Apocalypse, the Four Horsemen presents a dramatically distilled version of the passage from the book of Revelation (6:1–8). Transforming what was a relatively staid and unthreatening image in earlier illustrated Bibles, Dürer injects motion and danger into this climactic moment through his subtle manipulation of the wood block. The parallel lines across the image establish a basic middle tone, against which the artist silhouettes and overlaps the powerful forms of the four horses and riders—from left to right, Death on his pale horse, Famine with his scales, War carrying a sword, and Plague (or Pestilence) with his bow and crown. The Mouth of Hell, ready for victims, opens up at bottom left.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg), Woodcut

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