Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review of 'The Four Horsemen'

I wrote this review of the NGV's current print exhibition The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death for the Melbourne Art Network. You can read it in its entirety here:

The ‘Four Horsemen’ exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria draws together a rich, varied and evocative selection of images of death: the horseman crushing rich and poor alike beneath the hooves of his skeletal horse; the shadowy figure stalking the young and the beautiful; the horrors of war; the terrors of the final Apocalypse. The images in this exhibition are a window into a period when belief in the imminence of the Apocalypse was coupled with the more mundane fear of death from disease, accident or war. There is much that still resonates strongly today. We may not fear a religious apocalypse—though the, mostly, tongue-in-cheek panic about the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in 2012 suggests that traditional ideas of the apocalypse still capture our imaginations—but we have our own fears: the sense of the impending doom of climate-change, the fear of our own death or that of our loved ones. This exhibition gives us a chance to reflect on how the ever-present fear of death and disaster was dealt with in Early Modern Europe; it reminds us too that, although much has changed, the fear of brutality and death remains a common preoccupation... CONT.

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