The opening of the fifth and sixth Seals by Albrecht Durer

The opening of the fifth and sixth Seals by Albrecht Durer

Engraving “The Opening of the Fifth and Sixth Seals” is an illustration to the 6th chapter of the book “Revelation” of John the Theologian:

“And when He took off the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slain for the word of God and for the testimony that they had.” And when He took the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became gloomy like sackcloth, and the moon became like blood. “

“And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, like a fig tree, shaken by a mighty wind, drops its immature figs, and the sky disappeared, rolled like a scroll, and every mountain and island moved from their places… For the great day of His wrath has come, and who can resist? “

After the sixth seal was removed, a great earthquake began. Durer showed how the mountain was about to collapse. A rock rock is cracking. Now the lumps will begin to fall off: “And the sun became gloomy, like a hair shirt, and the moon became like blood.” Durer gives to both luminaries gloomy-gloomy human faces. Terrible man’s face is placed in the sickly sickle of the defective moon. The rays of the moon are sharp, like daggers. The rays of the sun are twisting like snakes.

It is said that the sun depicted in engravings is already the teacher of Durer, Wolgemuth. So, yeah, not exactly. In Durer, between the rays – snakes – and the rays are sharp, like peaks. And they have black color. A terrible black sun, shining with sharp black rays, over the dying world. Huge flaming stars fall to the ground, tracing fiery traces in the sky. You can hear the whistling with which they cut the air. “And the sky disappeared hanging like a scroll…”.

Is it possible to make such a metaphor visible? For Durer it is possible. He covered the earth with a huge cloud. It extends from the edge of the leaf and to the edge – from one end of the world to the other. And the cloud turns off, its edges twist, the tent that it forms above the world narrows.

The image of the shrinking world arises long before it appeared in the books of modern science fiction writers. And under the terribly curtailed sky, between the stone blocks ready to crash, horrified sinners. Durer abruptly divides the crowd in two: ordinary people on the left, noble on the right. The commoner in despair raises his hands to the sky. An elderly woman tries to cover her child with her body. And what are the children to blame? – arose and there is an inevitable question for the one who reads the “Apocalypse”. Durer does not know the answer to it, but depicts the perishing children with a pity that pinches the soul.

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