St John and the Twenty-four Elders in Heaven

From Apocalipsis cum Figuris (Apocalypse)

Illustrated by Albrecht Dürer



Dürer's St John and the Twenty-four Elders in Heaven depicts one element of the ecstatic vision experienced by

St John. The words associated with the illustration follow:


And, behold, a Throne was set in Heaven, and One sat on the Throne. And He that sat

was to look upon like a Jasper and a Sardine-stone: and there was a rainbow round about

the Throne, in sight like unto an Emerald. And round about the Throne were four and

twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white

raiment; and they had on the their heads crowns of Gold ... And round about the Throne

were four Beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first Beast was like a Lion, and

the second Beast like a Calf, and the third Beast had a face as a Man, and the fourth

Beast was life a flying Eagle.


Mrs Charles W Heaton (The History of the Life of Albrecht Durer of Nurnberg with a Translation of His Letters and

Journal and Some Accounts of His Work: Seeley, Jackson and Halliday, London; 1881), in an early comprehensive

biographical work, provides the following description of this wonderful illustration:


St John surveys this marvellous scene through the open door of heaven. He is already in

the clouds, or rather above them, for they float beneath him and separate him from the

earth, which lies in peaceful, unconscious beauty beneath the stage of the heavenly drama.

One of the elders appears to be instructing him in the meaning of the mysteries he beholds.

Above the head of the Father are suspended, in a half-circle, the seven lamps of fire, 'which

are the seven spirits of God,' and on His knees lies the Book with seven seals; the Lamb,

who alone is worthy to open the seals thereof, standing upon it.


One of the most noteworthy things in this and several of the other cuts is the contrast

between the momentous scene enacting above, and the quiet of the earth beneath,

unharmed as yet by the terrible plagues that are about to follow the opening of the seals.




Our Greeting Cards and Reproduction Prints


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In the meantime, enjoy perusing this glorious illustration by Albrecht Dürer.



The illustration



Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

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Reproduction on 8x12" sheet

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Some details from the illustration


The One on the Throne St John A representation of the temporal World