Top Five Apocalyptic Visions. PS: It was nice knowing you.

20 12 2012

Dear Powers-That-Be,

It’s all very well to be told that the world is going to end tomorrow. But when planning for the Apocalypse, it would be really helpful to know which time-zone I’m working to.

Presumably we should be synching our clocks to Mayan time, which means I should be looking to Mesoamerica. For those of us living on the east coast of Australia, this means we have a bit longer to wait before we high-five our maker. But does the ‘last day’ mean we have until midnight, or should I factor in a cataclysmic event early in the day? I still have a fair amount of Christmas shopping to do, so it would be great to have some specifics.

Yours sincerely,

Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios

PS – to entertain you as the skies rain brimstone and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse gallop past – Death, Plague, Pestilence… and the other one – here are my favourite apocalyptic visions drawn from the world of the visual arts. Not surprisingly, all were made in the nineteenth century or earlier. They really knew how to sell hellfire and damnation back then.

Happy last day on earth. It was fun.

Francisco Goya, 'Saturn Devouring His Children'

Francisco Goya, ‘Saturn Devouring His Children’

Michelangelo Buonarroti, 'The Last Judgement'

Michelangelo Buonarroti, ‘The Last Judgement’

John Martin, 'The Great Day of His Wrath'

John Martin, ‘The Great Day of His Wrath’

Luca Signorelli, 'The Damned Cast into Hell'

Luca Signorelli, ‘The Damned Cast into Hell’

Hieronymus Bosch, 'The Garden of Earthly Delights'

Hieronymus Bosch, ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’


The Torment of Sotheby’s: Did a Michelangelo Painting Slip Through their Fingers?

13 05 2009

I’ve always had a soft spot for Michelangelo. Think of it as a schoolgirl crush which germinated when I fell head over heels in love with David at the age of fourteen or so. No matter that his splendour was somewhat tarnished by the fly-spotted, discoloured slide projected in art history class in high school. Since then, I’ve developed an abiding passion for the art of printmaking. And in the meantime, I’ve been intrigued by images of the Torment of St. Anthony… Martin Schongauer’s is one of my favourites. His demons always remind me of the Hindu/Buddhist divinity, Garuda (image right). 


So, imagine my joy when I discovered that all three things may well be combined in a single image (pictured above). Kimbell Art Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas, picked it up for a song – they believe that it was painted by Michelangelo at the age of 12 or 13 after Schongauer’s print (around 1487 or so). Adam Williams, an art dealer, bought it from Sotheby’s where it was catalogued as ‘Workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio’ – where Michelangelo served his apprenticeship. It is believed that the Kimbell then bought it for about $6 million. Although the authorship is disputed, it’s a stunning painting.

Oh, please let it be true, art-world pixies. I want to believe!

Images: The Torment of St. Anthony – The New York Times; Garuda –