Nebuchadnezzar Dreams Of A Statue
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign he had a terrifying dream, but it fled from him. But Daniel was able to tell the king that he saw a great and tall statue: the head was of the finest gold, but the breast and arms were of silver, the belly and thighs were of brass, the shins were of iron, and parts of the feet were of iron and others were clay. And that he saw a stone, broken off without hands from a mountain, shatter the statue; and the stone became a great mountain and filled the earth. Daniel then told him he was the head of gold, but that after him an inferior kingdom, of silver, would rise up, and then, one of brass, that would rule the world. And the fourth kingdom will be like iron. Just as iron shatters and conquers all things, so will it shatter and crush all these. (Dan. 1:40)
At the top Daniel addresses the king; below, Nebuchadnezzar dreams of the golden statue and its destruction by a stone that becomes a great mountain.
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.