Satan's Last Attack: Gog and Magog
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
And when the thousand years will have been completed, Satan shall be released from his prison, and he shall go out and seduce the nations which are upon the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog. And he shall gather them together for battle, those whose number is like the sand of the sea. And they climbed across the breadth of the earth, and they encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city. (Rev. 20:7–9)
The beast and his followers are at top. Below is the beloved city (symbol of the Church), besieged by attackers led by a tall figure with a book—the Antichrist. At bottom, the believers seek refuge in the mountains (based on Matt. 22:16).
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.