Angel Of The Millstone
Beatus of Liébana
Las Huelgas Apocalypse
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
A certain strong angel took up a stone, similar to a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying: "With this force shall Babylon, that great city, be cast down. And she shall never be found again. And the sound of singers, and musicians, and flute and trumpet players shall not be heard in you again. And every artisan of every art shall not be found in you again. And the sound of the mill shall not be heard in you again." (Rev. 18:21–22)
Babylon is shown on the left, while the millstone, a metaphor for the city, is hurled into a fish-filled sea by an angel.
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.