Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Compare and contrast apocalyptic images...

I don't have a great religious background, so I was curious to know what the four horsemen of the Apocalypse meant, and I chose to compare this image from the Book of Revelation (Figure 4-13 in our text) to this image created by David Miles on photoshop. 

Supposedly the four horsemen are symbolic of different events which will take place at the end times. The first horsemen, the white one, refers to the antichrist. He will be given authority and will conquer all who oppose him. He is a false imitator of Christ. The second horsemen, the red one,  symbolizes warfare that will break out. The third, on the black horse, symbolizes a great famine, possibly resulting from the war (though I do find it interesting that it says that oil and wine and luxuries will be plentiful- just not food). The fourth horsemen is represented by a grey-ish horse, and is named death ("by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth".) 
Scary as it sounds, these horsemen are merely the beginning of worse things to come. 

In both images, there are four riders. The antichrist in both images he has a bow and a crown, and is riding a white horse. Warfare in both images is a red horse, and has a large sword. In both images he also appears to be followed by a demon looking creature. Famine is shown with a black horse, and each horsemen is holding a scale in his hand. The fourth, Death, is very different in each picture. The photoshop image shows him on a grey horse with a shadow which seems intentional. He has no sword, only a cloak. In the Book of Revelation, the horse is also grey but has no shadow, and carries a sword.

The styles in which each apocalyptic image was created are very different. In the book of revelation the images are flat. They are not quite profile views, but they do not show depth, or perspective. I'm sure these images were made this simply so that people knew exactly what these images represented. The significant objects each horsemen carries are very clear. Many people were illiterate at that time so the images had to say what the text meant.
In contrast to this is David Miles' picture. which shows perspective and shadows. It is photorealistic, but we know it was digitally altered.  Even though this image has much finer detail, what each horsemen represents is still very clear. If you couldn't read, you would still know what this image represents.

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