Gabriel Gives Daniel The Explanations, Daniel Languishes, And Gabriel Returns With Prophecies About The Future Of Jerusalem
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
Gabriel explains the vision of the battle of the ram (king of the Medes and Persians) and the goat (king of the Greeks), after which Daniel languished for some days. I, Daniel, understood from the book of Jeremiah that the desolation of Jerusalem would be completed in seventy years. And I thus prayed and made supplication to the Lord my God that his anger and fury might be turned away from Jerusalem. And while I was still praying the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision flying swiftly, touched me at the time of the evening sacrifice. Seventy weeks of years are concentrated on your people and holy city, so that transgression shall be finished, and sin shall reach an end, and iniquity shall be wiped away, and so that everlasting justice shall be brought in, and vision and prophecy shall be fulfilled, and the saint of saints shall be anointed. (Dan. 8–9)
At left, Gabriel explains the battles to Daniel, after which he retires to bed. Above, he returns as Daniel offers evening sacrifice at the altar.
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.