Albrecht Dürer: The Apocalypse - The Whore of Babylon (1498)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

This woodcut is part of a whole serie dedicated to The Apocalypse from Book of Revelation. These woodcuts wwere also very popular and made Dürer very famous in his time. This print shows  Book of Revelation chapters 17 and 18: On the left riding a 7-headed dragon is the 'whore of Babylon'. She is a symbol of evil and is associated with the Antichrist. She is described in the Book of Revelation 17:3-4: ""And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy with seven heads and ten horns. The woman was garbed in purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold, gems, and pearls, and bearing a golden goblet in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication". Above the woman is a burning city, this is Babylon - a domain that embodies evil on earth. On the left coming from the upper left corner are the armies of heaven led by the knight Faithful-and-True. Above the group is an angel as described in the book of revelation 18:1-2 :"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Woodcut from 1498.

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