The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1498) by Albrecht Durer

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Albrecht Durer - 1498

Artwork Information

TitleThe Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationKupferstichkabinett Berlin, Berlin, Germany

About The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” created by Albrecht Dürer in 1498, is a seminal woodcut from the Northern Renaissance era, illustrating a religious theme as part of the “Apocalypse” series. Housed at the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin in Germany, this artwork embodies the power and drama characteristic of Dürer’s work and the subject matter’s intense symbolism.

The artwork portrays the biblical scene from the Book of Revelation featuring the four horsemen representing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. Each figure is vividly depicted atop their symbolic steeds, set against a background of chaos and fall of humanity. From left to right, a crowned figure with a bow represents Conquest, an armored warrior wielding a sword stands for War, a skeleton holding scales signifies Famine, and lastly, Death follows on a pale horse, trampling over the fallen.

Dürer’s mastery of the woodcut medium is evident in the intricate details, the use of stark contrast, and the dynamic composition that captures the intensity of the apocalyptic vision. The figures are rendered with a remarkable level of precision, contributing to a sense of movement and dread that pervades the scene. Above the horsemen, angels blow trumpets, signalling divine intervention and the unfolding of end times, making the artwork a profound representation of this eschatological event.

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