Adoration Of The Lamb, The Sealed, And The Elect
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
And I heard the number of those who were sealed: one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel. After these things, I saw a great crowd, which no one could number, from all the nations and tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out, with a great voice, saying: "Salvation is from our God, who sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb." And all the angels were standing around the throne, with the elders and the four living creatures. And they fell upon their faces in view of the throne, and they worshiped God. (Rev. 7:4–11)
The central Lamb is set against a green cross, with four adoring angels above and the four living creatures below (the latter with books). The numberless elect hold palms and have gold or silver halos, while the sealed from the tribes of Israel occupy the six outer compartments.
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.