The Four Horsemen
Apocalypse, Death and Disaster
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (c. 1497-1498); (1498)
Albrecht DÜRER
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (c. 1497-1498); (1498) {printed before text edition of}
from The Apocalypse series, published 1498
woodcut
39.2 x 28.2 cm (image and sheet)
Bartsch 64
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1956
3538-4

The Four Horsemen presents images of death and disaster in prints, illuminated manuscripts, illustrated books and paintings from the fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. This was a period of great turmoil in Europe, during which bitter religious conflict, war, famine and pestilence generated deep anxiety. Dramatic events and natural disasters were increasingly read as divine punishments or warnings that the Last Days were imminent.

This exhibition explores the ways in which artists gave expression to the beliefs and fears that plagued individuals and whole societies. The 120 works on display, including Albrecht Dürer’s extraordinary woodcuts illustrating the Apocalypse, prints by Hans Holbein, Jacques de Gheyn and Jacques Callot, illustrate witches, monsters, demons and the Devil. Death, personified as a skeleton, featured prominently in the visual culture of the period, and is represented in all guises - dancing, riding on horseback, and stalking unsuspecting men and women as they go about their daily lives.

The works in this exhibition are drawn from the Prints & Drawings collection of the NGV and include key loans from the State Library of Victoria and the Special Collections of the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne.

Exhibition curated by Dr Petra Kayser, Curator, Prints & Drawings, NGV; Cathy Leahy, Senior Curator, Prints & Drawings, NGV; Dr Jennifer Spinks, Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne; and Professor Charles Zika, Professorial Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence, History of Emotions, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne.


31 Aug 201228 Jan 2013 NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road
Robert Raynor Gallery Prints & Drawings, Level 3, NGVI
Robert Raynor Gallery Prints & Drawings, Level 3, NGVI


The Four Horsemen Cover

The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, Death and Disaster

Edited by Cathy Leahy, Jennifer Spinks and Charles Zika

Publication Year 2012
RRP $44.95

Excerpts from the The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, Death and Disaster publication.