Philip James De Loutherbourg, The Vision of the White Horse

Tate Britain, London

Date: 1798
Technique: Oil on canvas, 122.2 x 99.1 cm

In the last decade of the eighteenth century, the French Revolution, the ensuing wars and the approaching millennium sparked a new trend for apocalyptic subjects. Artists explored themes of destruction and divine judgement and the end of mankind.Here Loutherbourg shows the first two of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse: the ‘conquerer’ on a white horse, drawing a bow, and ‘War’ on a red horse, wielding a sword. With ‘Famine’ and ‘Death’, they ride out after the breaking of the first four seals of the Book of Judgement. Loutherbourg made this design for an illustrated Bible.


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