The Forgotten French Tapestry With Lessons for Our Apocalyptic Times

By John Kampfner
And you thought you had a lot to deal with ... detail from the Apocalypse Tapestry, Angers, France. Photograph: Tuul and Bruno Morandi/Alamy Stock Photo
Hidden away in a chateau in Angers is the beautiful Apocalypse Tapestry, made after war and pestilence had killed millions in medieval Europe. It is, quite literally, a Revelation. Commissioned by Louis I, the Duke of Anjou, in the late 14th century, the 90 different scenes tell the story of the Book of Revelation, the Bible’s last gasp of horror, retribution and redemption. It hangs in the city of Angers, in a dimly lit modern gallery at the foot of the castle. The story of how it got there, and how it has survived, is almost as dramatic as the visions it depicts. Revelation was written by Saint John the Divine, who had been banished by the Romans to the Aegean island of Patmos (apparently after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering no injuries). It marks the final battle between good and evil: Satan as a dragon and Christ as a lamb. [More]