Text copyright © May 6, 2013 Dr. Elizabeth A. Garner, All Rights Reserved
BUY THE BOOK! CRIMES IN THE ART: THE SECRET CIPHER OF ALBRECHT DÜRER
The storyline of the Apocalypse has St. John having numerous visions, with many angelic mediators and interventions, bizarre imagery, it requires a divine Last Judgment, promises a new heaven and a new earth, and emphasizes the Kingdom of Heaven by indicating a present world and a world to come.
Revelations has seven sections, probably influenced by the image of the seven –branched Jewish Menorah, where each section is made up of an introductory piece followed by seven revelations, and where the seven sections are themselves arranged as follows:
Prologue 1.1-8; Section 1: 1.9-3.22 Messages to the Seven Churches; Section 2: 4.1-8.1
The Seven Seals; Section 3: 8.2-11.18
The Seven Trumpets; Section C: 11.19-15.4
Seven Visions; Section 3′: 15.5-16.21
The Seven Bowls/Plagues; Section 2′: 17.1-19.10
Seven Words on the Fall of Babylon; Section 1′: 19.11-22.15
Seven Final Visions;
In terms of literary structure, Revelation consists of four visions, each involving John “seeing” the plan of God unveiled, with an epilogue that concludes the book.
In terms of content, the structure of Revelations is built around four successive groups of seven: the messages to the seven churches; the seven seals; the seven trumpets; and the seven bowl judgments. The repeated occurrence of the number seven contributes to the overall unity of Revelation. While several numbers stand out—3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 24, 144, 1000—the number seven appears to have a special significance. In fact, there are twenty-four distinct occurrences of the use of “seven,” considered the number of perfection in Christianity.
One half of seven, 3½, is also a conspicuous number in Revelation: two witnesses are given power to prophesy 1,260 days, or exactly 3½ years, according to the Hebrew year of 360 days;the witnesses are then killed, and their dead bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3½ days; the “woman clothed with the sun, ” that is known as the Apocalyptic Woman, is protected in the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3½ years; Gentiles tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months, or 3½ years;and the beast is given authority to continue for 42 months, or 3½ years.
The absolute pivot point of the entire story is The Last Judgment, where the wicked, along with death and Hades, are cast into the lake of fire. (20:11-15). Without this event, the new Heaven and Earth and the new Jerusalem can not come into existence. Every Apocalypse art cycle prior to Dürer, had a striking depiction of the Last Judgment and Hell. It was the most important image of all, a requisite.
Dürer’s Apocalypse has no Last Judgment scene whatsoever, only a depiction of the existence of the New Jerusalem, the final outcome. Michael the Archangel holds the key to Heaven, allowing Satan to be released from the bottomless pit after being imprisoned for 1000 years in front of the New Jerusalem, depicted on the left of the composition in the place reserved for Hell. In other words, Dürer’s depiction on the last page of his book is wrong, backwards and incomplete.
There has been no evidence ever found that Dürer intended to add extra images to what he published as the book. And we don’t get any really juicy terrible and brutal apocalyptic imagery at all. We don’t get any visions of Hell, we don’t see God passing Judgment and the sinners thrown to eternal damnation, we don’t get any visions of the battle between Gog and Magog, or Satan battling against the people of God or getting thrown into the lake of burning sulphur and we don’t see the resurrection of the Christian martyrs reigning with Christ. From a storytelling perspective, Dürer cut out the best parts of the “movie,” where all the cars crash and everything gets blown up. How could Dürer become so famous for his version of the Apocalypse when the most exciting and Church required parts of the story was missing so much of the what made Revelations “Christian?”
Why has no other art historian ever discussed this enormous gap in iconographical illustration until now?
But what no one realizes is that Dürer did make a Last Judgment scene for his Apocalypse, he just didn’t include it in the book. Right after his publication of the Apocalypse he was given a commission to paint what is now known as “The Haller Madonna,” owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
On the back of this painting is another painting done by Dürer known as Lot Fleeing Sodom with his Family
All have assumed that the two paintings are unrelated but they are wrong, they are absolutely related, the painting of Lot giving the real message as to what both paintings mean.
Compare the position of the Christ Child’s arm position with the position of Eve’s arm in the 1504 print of Adam and Eva. You will see that the two arm positions are the same, because Dürer is using the same clue with the same message. And because of this clue, the Dürer Cipher allows us to decode what the Haller Madonna is really about-it’s the missing Last Judgment scene of the Apocalypse.
More to come.