DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

The Revelation of St John: 14. The Whore of Babylon

Woodcut, 39 x 28 cm
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe

The vision of the whore of Babylon was of a woman clothed in purple and scarlet, mounted on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:3-6). She held a gold cup full of obscenities. An angel foretold her destruction to John. (The whore of Babylon symbolizes Rome to the writer who states that the beast's seven heads represent seven hills. To Protestant reformers she stood for the Rome of the popes.)

`Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea and said, "Thus shall Babylon, the great city, be sent hurtling down, never to be seen again"' (Rev. 18:21-4).

Upper left: a vision of a rider named Faithful and True, riding a white horse (Rev. 19:11-16). His eyes flamed like fire, a sword came out of his mouth, he carried a rod of iron, and his garment was drenched in blood. (The symbol of Christ as a warrior, robed in the blood of martyrs, with a sword to conquer and a rod to rule.)