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Contrasting Images of the Book of Revelation in Late Medieval and Early Modern ArtA Case Study in Visual Exegesis$
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Natasha F. H. O'Hear

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590100

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590100.001.0001

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A Time of Transition

A Time of Transition

Visual Representations of the Book of Revelation in Germany in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period

(p.135) 5 A Time of Transition
Contrasting Images of the Book of Revelation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Art

Natasha O'Hear

Oxford University Press

This chapter concentrates on visual interpretations of the Book of Revelation from the late fifteenth century to the early sixteenth century, with particular reference to the Koberger Bible of 1483, Dürer's Apocalypse Series of 1498/1511 and Cranach's illustrations for Luther's New Testament of 1522. All three woodcut series appear within examples of the new print media and thus full attention is given in each case to their more public context. The close relationship between the three works, as well as with their Anglo‐Norman predecessors, is also explored throughout, although they all have distinctive hermeneutical emphases. The koberger illustrations offer a literal yet fairly compressed interpretation of the source‐text. Dürer's Apocalypse Series was primarily an aesthetic enterprise yet simultaneously represents a theologically sensitive presentation of text and images of the Book of Revelation. Cranach's Apocalypse illustrations meanwhile were both instructive and polemical, a visual counterpart to the Lutheran Reformation. All three hermeneutical emphases are explored in detail in this chapter.

Keywords:   Koberger Bible, Dürer's Apocalypse Series, Cranach, woodcut, print, compressed, literal, interpretation, text‐image, polemical, Reformation, Luther

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