Appearance Of The Seven Angels With Trumpets
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
And I saw seven angels standing in the sight of God. And seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel approached and stood before the altar, holding a golden censer. And much incense was given to him, so he might offer upon the golden altar before God's throne the prayers of all the saints. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended, in the presence of God, from the hand of the angel. And the angel received the golden censer, filled it from the fire of the altar, and cast it down upon the earth, and there were thunders and voices and lightnings and a great earthquake. (Rev. 8:2–5)
This full-page miniature marks the beginning of seven miniatures depicting the events following the sounding of the trumpets. The angel standing on the gold altar seems to have already spilled the contents of his censer. Fire arrows fall on the earth from the censer held by the descending angel.
The Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation, is not only the last Book of the New Testament, but its most difficult, puzzling, and terrifying. It provided challenges to medieval illustrators and was the source for a number of popular images, such as Christ in Majesty, the Adoration of the Lamb, and the Madonna of the Apocalypse and contributed to the widespread use of the Evangelists' symbols.
Selected images from Apocalypse Then: Medieval Illuminations from the Morgan, an exhibition held at the Morgan are presented here. The exhibition celebrates the completion of a facsimile of the Morgan's Las Huelgas Apocalypse—the latest dated (1220) and largest surviving manuscript of a Spanish tradition of illuminated commentaries on the Apocalypse by the monk Beatus of Liébana. The series of manuscripts constitutes Spain's most important contribution to medieval manuscript illumination.
The Las Huelgas Apocalypse contains three sections: the prefatory cycle, the Apocalypse, and the Book of Daniel.
In addition to forty-nine images from the Las Huelgas Apocalypse, six images from other manuscripts in the Morgan's collections, including the earliest Beatus painted by Maius and one by the Master of the Berry Apocalypse, are in this presentation.