Cornelis de Vos (c. 1584-1651), The Last Judgment, 1600-25
In the space between heaven and earth armed angels fight a savage battle against man-kind. A throng of kings, clerics, and common folk are under attack.
No-one seems safe. The distant landscape in the background shows traces of the plagues that preceded this massacre.
Blackish-grey smoke pours down from the sky onto a hill, elsewhere the sky gushes forth toxic torrents of yellow sulphur, and forest fires ravage the hills. In the sky above the angels, God the Father rests majestically on a rainbow surrounded by a celestial halo. The only harbingers of hope are Christ and his mother Mary, who kneel as they plead on behalf of mankind, hoping to lessen the severity of the judgment.
The motif is rare and based on the Bible’s vision of Judgment Day from Revelations. The bright, colourful palette is a typical feature of Northern European Mannerist art from the late 16th century.