Albrecht Dürer

The Whore of Babylon

c. 1496-1497
This complex image combines three chapters from Revelation. The principal theme is God’s judgment of the great Whore of Babylon, seen seated to the right on a seven-headed beast (Rev. 17). Behind her appears the destruction of Babylon and the fire that will be her undoing (Rev. 18:8). Above, an angel holds a millstone that he will cast into the sea, saying: “Thus with violence that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all” (Rev. 18:21). To the upper left, heavenly armies emerge from the clouds (Rev. 19:14). The Whore of Babylon, in the costume of a Venetian courtesan, holds a large, richly ornamented German goblet that contains her sins. Before her stands a crowd of admirers in contemporary German dress while, at the far left, a monk kneels in worship.
Title
The Whore of Babylon
Date
c. 1496-1497
Medium
Print
Materials
woodcut on laid paper
Dimensions
38.8 x 28 cm
Nationality
German
Credit line
Purchased 1922
Accession number
2056