The Babylon Harlot

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer - The Babylon Harlot
Albrecht Dürer was not only a great painter and draughtsman, but his immense and versatile talent was also manifested in original printmaking – a new art medium in his day. Already in 1498, Dürer published his famous Apocalypse woodcut series published in Latin and German. This sheet comes from the following Latin edition issued in 1511. One of the most compelling parts of the Bible, The Book of Revelation, or The Apocalypse of John, inspired the artist to render forceful images of John’s visions, still bearing contemporary symbolism. His illustration called The Babylon Harlot combines three motifs of the fall of Babylon: in his vision, a woman sat on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns. The harlot as a symbol of immorality, sitting on a beast symbolized by the number seven (analogous to The Seven Hills of Rome) represented precisely this papal city with the implicit sense of Protestant criticism. In the sky, an angel holds a millstone that he is about to hurl into the sea and thus strike down Babylon. A horseman rides out of the heavens to do God’s Will, followed by the heavenly armies.
measurements: height 420 mm
width 330 mm
in collections:
material: paper
technique: woodcut
inventory number: R 659 - R 674
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings