The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – (Albrecht Durer) Previous Next


Artist:

Style: Northern Renaissance

Topic: Animals;Birth And Death;Horses;Religious

Size: 39 x 28 cm

Technique: Wood

The third and most famous woodcut from Dürer's series of illustrations for The Apocalypse, the Four Horsemen presents a dramatically distilled version of the passage from the Book of Revelation (6:1–8): "And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come!' And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and its rider had a balance in his hand; … When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given great power over a fourth of the earth; to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth." Transforming what was a relatively staid and unthreatening image in earlier illustrated Bibles, Dürer injects motion and danger into this climactic moment through his subtle manipulation of the woodcut. The parallel lines across the image establish a basic middle tone against which the artist silhouettes and overlaps the powerful forms of the four horses and riders—from left to right, Death, Famine, War, and Plague (or Pestilence). Their volume and strong diagonal motion enhance the impact of the image, offering an eloquent demonstration of the masterful visual effects Dürer was able to create in this medium.

This artwork is in the public domain.

Artist

Albrecht Durer

Download

Click here to download

Permissions

Free for non commercial use. See below.

Albrecht Durer – Most viewed artworks

Public domain

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. However - you may not use this image for commercial purposes and you may not alter the image or remove the watermark.

This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.


Note that a few countries have copyright terms longer than 70 years: Mexico has 100 years, Colombia has 80 years, and Guatemala and Samoa have 75 years. This image may not be in the public domain in these countries, which moreover do not implement the rule of the shorter term. Côte d'Ivoire has a general copyright term of 99 years and Honduras has 75 years, but they do implement that rule of the shorter term.