Between Heaven and Hell: Imagining the Apocalypse in Northern Renaissance Art

Ars longa, Vita Breve


Throughout the ages, the fear of the impending doom of the Apocalypse has played a persistent role in the creative expression of the artist. The Renaissance, an age of uncertainty and of great social, political and religious change, is no exception. Pieter Bruegel the Elder was an artist at the very heart of these great upheavals. Situating Bruegel amongst the chaos brings to light how imagining the end of the world may have contributed to many of the artistic developments of the time. In an age where Apocalyptic thought was rife, it is clear how this could have had an impact upon the work of Bruegel, his contemporaries and his artistic forefathers. Thus, while focusing primarily on Bruegel’s Fall of the Rebel Angels (1561), this essay will also draw upon a sample of Northern Renaissance interpretations of the Apocalypse.

Imagining the Apocalypse Pre 1500

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