Just in Time for the Apocalypse: Albrecht Durer and a Different Take on the Symbolism of the Four Horsemen

Albrecht Durer “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” , woodcut, 15-1/4″ x 11-7/16″ (1498)

[1] And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. [2] And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

[3] And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. [4] And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

[5] And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. [6] And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

[7] And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. [8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:1-8

Back in in my freshman year of college, even though I had plenty of art assignments to focus on, I still pursued reading in esoteric subjects which fascinated me. We had a great library at the university, just about a block from my dorm. I was socially awkward, so I had free time. I browsed for hours, looking up whatever crossed my mind.

It was in this side reading I encountered a concept which shaped my understanding of reality ever since.

I can’t remember the title of the book I stumbled across, or the name of the author. He may have been a rabbi.

The subject of the non-fiction book may have been religion, or symbolism, or philosophy. It might have even been self-help; I was looking for advice about my social awkwardness.

Whatever the main point of the book was, this forgotten writer discussed in passing what we call the Four Horsemen, as described in the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.

I learned growing up Revelation (often misidentified in the plural form of “Revelations”) was written by John the Apostle, one of the original disciples of Jesus. Scholars dispute this, but as current events prove, credentialed experts are almost always wrong about everything, especially in their own fields of study.

No matter who wrote it, Revelation presents a hallucinogenic recounting of the Apocalypse. People think Apocalypse means the end of the world, but the word is taken from a Greek term meaning “revealing,” or “uncovering.”

The Bible describes the unsealed riders being turned loose, their mounts, and what they do, but does not name them. The traditional identities given to these terrible figures are Pestilence (white horse and bow), War (red horse and sword), Famine (black horse and scales), and Death (pale horse, with Hell following).

These days many think we are four for four as far as prophecy fulfillment goes, although at the moment Famine looks like he’s yet to really make his move. He’s still in the starting gate, the planned front runner for the next phase in the World Economic Forum’s genocidal assault on humanity.

The best image of the Horsemen I know of comes from the work of German artist Albrecht Durer (May 21, 1471-April 6, 1528). In 1498, less than fifty years after Johannes Gutenberg published his revolutionary copy of the Bible, Durer became the first artist to print and copyright his own book: Apocalipsis Cum Figuris, The Apocalypse with Pictures. Many at the time believed the year 1500 would be the end times, so the folio was topical.

The Four Horsemen was Durer’s greatest hit from the album of fifteen illustrations. The woodcut, originally printed from a plate carved from pear wood, depicts the charge of the forces of destruction, trampling representatives of humanity under the hooves of their horses. Durer was an incredible draftsman, and rendered a horrific scene with naturalistic details and a powerful, diagonal composition. In Durer’s uncolored prints, the riders can be identified by the implements they bear; the Pale Rider gets the devil’s traditional pitchfork. 

The beauty of symbols is they can mean more than one thing. The mysterious, inspirational library book I read suggested an alternative interpretation for the Horseman. Rather than manifestations of God’s wrath, the riders can be seen as four aspects of the human consciousness.

The White Horseman with the bow and crown goes out to conquer. The purity of white, the far reaching range of a bow, and the acts of conquest suggest man’s Spiritual nature.

The Red Horseman with his sword takes peace from the land. The fiery appearance of red, the cutting sword, and the trouble inflicted is like man’s Emotional states.

The Black Horseman with his scales is measuring and stingy. The concealing nature of black, the counting and the withholding communications are Intellectual stances.

The Pale Horseman bringing death and suffering can be seen as our Physical selves, the pallid, fleshy parts of us that break down and die.

Even though there is more to Revelation that this brief segment, I saw the wisdom in the model it suggested. I’ve gone through life looking for physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health. The best resource for harmonizing those elements is represented by another complex symbolic animal of the Apocalypse: the Lamb.

We are undergoing a revelation right now as a culture. It is apocalyptic in that what was once hidden is now coming to light. The WooHoo floo, vaxxx hysteria, the election, planned destruction, puppets and their masters, Durham’s investigation; we don’t know the real stories, just the manufactured narratives.

It’s staggering how much we’ve all been deceived, and for how long. It’s going to be judgement day for many people, especially those who utilized Postmodern strategies of deception and groupthink as their means of power.

Evil is in its death throes and it’s causing much damage, but fundamentally this is an era of rebirth. What is passing away is an entrenched system that could not sustain its delusions any longer.

We aren’t at the end. We are at a reboot of the culture. We will run better once we clear up the rotten aristocratic caste which is locked up and glitching right before our eyes.

I’ve seen this coming for a long time, through my involvement in the art world. The visionary artist William Blake explained it: “Empire follows art, and not vice versa.”

Over my decades involved in the art scene, I saw the establishment art world increasingly exposed as a corrupt joke.

I discovered a powerful alternative way of art proposed by two English artists, Billy Childish and Charles Thomson. They defined a replacement for the globalist scheme of Postmodernism with a practical, populist appreciation of art called Remodernism. It grew into an international art movement, the Stuckists, which has inspired creatives around the world with a DIY spirit far removed from the political posturing that goes on in the elitist art cult.

I saw in these events a pattern I knew the world would follow.

The mighty would fall once the people had enough of their BS. We will bypass their precious assumptions and entitlements, and make them obsolete. We are out-evolving them.

As I said in my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Art is a more enduring and vital human experience than the power games of a greedy and fraudulent ruling class. The managers crashed the culture in pursuit of their agenda. They defend their usurped authority and privileges with doublethink, misdirection, and intimidation. Their time has run out. Reality is crashing back through their carefully constructed facades, and a time of reckoning has come. Enduring changes start in the arts. Remodernism defeats Postmodern desecration.

In the meantime, if anyone recognizes the helpful book which discussed the Four Horsemen I stumbled across so many years ago, please leave a comment. I’d love to read it again.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

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DAILY ART FIX: The Supper at Emmaus: A coded symbol hidden in a masterpiece

Art world links which caught my eye…

(Credit: Alamy)

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio “The Supper at Emmaus” (1606) oil on canvas 56″ × 69″

An analysis of the painting “The Supper at Emmaus” by Italian Old Master Caravaggio reveals its symbolic implications.

The basket is a precarious nudge away from tumbling out of the painting altogether and into our space, spilling into reality its contents of bursting pomegranates and swollen grapes, rotting russets and radiant quince, which the artist has filled with ripeness to the core. But it’s the interruption in the weave of straw that subliminally snags the eye of the mind – a fray consisting of two intersecting curves that the artist describes with calculating care – one swerving upwards, the other down, to form the unexpected, if irrefutable, shape of a stylised fish, or “Ichthys” in the parlance of ancient Christian symbolism.

A stray piece of wicker sticking out from the basket appears to show an ancient Christian symbol (Credit: Alamy)

Read the full article here: BBC – The Supper at Emmaus: A coded symbol hidden in a masterpiece

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity.

We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old.

We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism.

Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Symbolism and the Function of Tradition

From December 24, 2014

Richard Bledsoe “The Bear That Ate the Stars” oil on canvas 30″ x 36″

As a young artist, as I started to discover what truly intrigued me in my art, I found I was following parallel explorations to the Symbolist artists. Even as I’ve become aware of the cutting edge contemporary movement of Remodernism, following my own natural inclinations keeps my works grounded in Symbolist traditions. Remodernist artists find inspiration in the art forms of the past, expressed not by mindless imitation or appropriation, but by finding in ourselves the universal source of love and excitement that moved those earlier artists.
Fascination with the fantastic, mythical and religious imagery, the spiritual connotations of darkness, light and color, an underlying sense of order; these concerns of the Symbolists continue to arise spontaneously in my own art.

Gustave Moreau: Reimagining Symbolism

This article touches on the works and life of formative symbolist Gustave Moreau. Key quote:

” Eccentricity and provocation are two defining characteristics of symbolist artists, all of whom created their own artificial world, built on their own imagination and emotions. Rejecting naturalism and impressionism, at the same time the artists challenged themselves to stimulate and evoke the observer’s emotions. Longing for sensation and artfully hidden implications, it seems only logical that every artist brings his unique touch to a common concept.”

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization.

**************

I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

PAINTINGS: The Finish Line

Finish Line

Richard Bledsoe “The Finish Line” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 24″

Sometimes the paintings just take off in unexpected directions. When they do, it’s best just to follow their lead.

We, as artists, act as conduits. Through us pours the source of all creativity, into vessels shaped by our own particular consciousness.

It takes faith to get out of the way of that flow.

“Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity’s quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists.”

The Remodernism Manifesto

COMMENTARY: Symbolism and the Function of Tradition

bearthatate

“The Bear That Ate the Stars” by Richard Bledsoe

As a young artist, as I started to discover what truly intrigued me in my art, I found I was following parallel explorations to the Symbolist artists. Even as I’ve become aware of the cutting edge contemporary movement of Remodernism, following my own natural inclinations keeps my works grounded in Symbolist traditions. Remodernist artists find inspiration in the art forms of the past, expressed not by mindless imitation or appropriation, but by finding in ourselves the universal source of love and excitement that moved those earlier artists.
Fascination with the fantastic, mythical and religious imagery, the spiritual connotations of darkness, light and color, an underlying sense of order; these concerns of the Symbolists continue to arise spontaneously in my own art.

Gustave Moreau: Reimagining Symbolism

This article touches on the works and life of formative symbolist Gustave Moreau. Key quote: ” Eccentricity and provocation are two defining characteristics of symbolist artists, all of whom created their own artificial world, built on their own imagination and emotions. Rejecting naturalism and impressionism, at the same time the artists challenged themselves to stimulate and evoke the observer’s emotions. Longing for sensation and artfully hidden implications, it seems only logical that every artist brings his unique touch to a common concept.”