Apocalypse Now and Then

Mad Max-Fury Road - Jasin Boland, courtesy of Warner Bros.

The fantastically reimagined dystopian world in the new movie Mad Max: Fury Road is a wonderfully cacophonous sensory vision of a post-apocalyptic nightmare. With stunningly choreographed anarchic violence it is an orgiastic relishing of the grim and macabre, with the reapers of death dispensing gory dispatch to anything in their path. Rendered in the grandly lurid sensibility of a comic book it is a visually stunning descent into a hellish, plague-ridden scene of horror.

Of course this is nothing new. Tales of apocalyptic catastrophes exist in the mythic pre-histories of many world cultures. Depictions of the world after the imagined Apocalypse have proliferated in art for millennia. In medieval times these visions served as potent religious visual warnings to wayward congregations but by the 18th Century had often become preposterous Technicolor indulgences.

Here are just a few examples from different eras in art. All are vivid depictions of war, death and disaster.

The Four Horsemen from the Apocalypse-Albrecht Dürer

The Four Horsemen, from The Apocalypse, (1498), Albrecht Dürer © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Triumph of Death, (c.1562) Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Museo del Prado

The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19)-Jean Louis Théodore Géricault-(Musée du Louvre)

The Raft of the Medusa, (1818-19), Jean Louis Théodore Géricault, Musée du Louvre

Los_Desastres_de_la_Guerra-No.39-Grande_hazaña, con muertos-Goya-PradoJake & Dinos Chapmans_after Goya_Disasters

Los Desastres de la Guerra-No.39-Grande hazaña, con muertos, Goya, Museo del Prado

Jake & Dinos Chapman’s after Goya Disasters

Apocalypse-Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Apocalypse, (1831) Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Sodom and Gomorrah-John Martin

Sodom and Gomorrah, (1852), John Martin

The Great Day of His Wrath-John Martin

The Great Day of His Wrath, (1853), John Martin

Death on the Pale Horse-Gustave DoréDeath on the Pale Horse, (1865), Gustave Doré

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-Viktor Vasnetsov

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, (1887), Viktor Vasnetsov

The Menin Road, 1919-Paul Nash

The Menin Road, (1919), Paul Nash

Apocalyptic Riders-Nibil Kanso

Apocalyptic Riders, Nibil Kanso


Four Highlights For April

MrGilhooleyUnsuitable Irish art finally goes on public view – On view now

The Hugh Lane Gallery has recently acquired the once scandalous stained-glass artwork by Harry Clarke depicting Nelly the partially nude mistress of Mr. Gilhooley from the eponymous novel by Liam O’Flaherty. This is one of the original panels from the so-called Geneva window commission for the League of Nations but replaced by Clarke in the final completed work due to a hairline crack. On viewing the completed window then president of the Irish Free State WT Cosgrave did not think it suitable subject matter for public viewing. Go and see what all the fuss was about and revel in this beautiful pink and gold vision in stained glass from the vividly creative mind of Harry Clarke. It enhances the gallery’s other permanent display of Clarke’s wondrous Eve of St. Agneshttp://www.hughlane.ie/

Dona Antonia-Zárate_GoyaFlavours of Art: Spanish Evening at the National Gallery of Ireland – April 9th 2015

Pierrot_1921_Juan GrisAn introduction to the very fine highlights of the National Gallery’s Spanish collection, including masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya and Picasso, followed by a supper of Spanish specialities in the Gallery Café, with music by master Flamenco guitarist and composer from Cadiz, Juan José Manzano.


Blade_Runner_posterBlade Runner returns – In cinemas from April 3rd

Ridley Scott’s vision is a science fiction masterpiece, which has been much imitated but never equaled over the decades since its original release. The concepts, futurist imaginings and sheer visual bravura still resonate today with many of its key themes now proving wholly prescient. Like all the best science fiction it still evokes that thrilling sensation of partial recognition mixed with a slightly queasy encounter with a unique vision of the future. It has remained the ultimate cult movie and touchstone to a generation of designers, writers and filmmakers. Catch this timely re-release on a big screen where it was always meant to be viewed. http://lighthouse.admit-one.eu/?p=details&eventCode=15585 

Vincent Van Gogh – A new Way of Seeing – In Cinemas from 14th AprilWheat Field with Cypresses_1889_Van Gogh

694px-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project_(719161)Made in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, this film is a major re-showing of the gallery’s collection and a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death. Seeing Van Gogh’s masterpieces on the big screen, in high definition is a revelation. Renowned curators and art historians, offer their interpretations and explanations of his work. With exclusive new research revealing recent discoveries and insights. Check out http://www.exhibitiononscreen.com/vincent-van-gogh-a-new-way-of-seeing for participating cinemas in your area.