Daniel Sees Three Angels By The Tigris
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
In the third year of Cyrus, king of the Persians, a message was revealed to Daniel. I, Daniel, was next to the great Tigris river, and saw a man clothed in linen, and his waist was wrapped with the finest gold, and his face was like lightning and his eyes like a burning lamp. And he said, "I have come to teach you what will happen to your people in the latter days, because the vision is for a long time from now. But Daniel, close the message and seal the book, until the established time." And then I saw two others who stood up, one on each bank of the river. And I said to the man clothed in linen, "How long will it be until the end of these wonders?" And the man lifted both hands toward heaven, saying, when the band of holy people is completely dispersed. (Dan. 10–12)
The angel at the top, his arms raised, is the one clothed in linen (although the artist did not follow the biblical description). The two men on the banks of the Tigris are the two smaller angels.
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.