Virgin of the Apocalypse Standing on a Globe with Adam and Eve
- unknown artist
Unknown artist, Virgin of the Apocalypse Standing on a Globe with Adam and Eve, last third of the 18th century. Oil on canvas; 32⅝ × 24⅜ in. Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Seymour Rubenfeld, 1978.181.
The iconography of the Virgin of the Apocalypse derives from the Book of Revelation, which described the coming of a “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” and the wings of an eagle (12:1-4). The woman gave birth to a son “destined to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod” (12:4), who is typically interpreted as Christ. Here the Virgin is shown against the heavens, surrounded by a choir of angels who gaze at her reverently.
In the Early Modern period, the Virgin of the Apocalypse was understood as a symbol of the Church triumphant over evil and sin, here represented by the serpent on which she stands. Beneath her is a globe showing Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, presumably at the Fall. This detail is found in other Quito-school images of the Virgin of the Apocalypse, which helps us locate the work there. The composition as well as the palette of muted blue, pink, red, and ochre also suggest that the work was created in 1700s Quito.
– Kathryn Santner, Frederick and Jan Mayer Fellow of Spanish Colonial Art, 2022