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Apocalyptic Imagery In Art History

First Posted: 05/21/11 08:02 AM ET   Updated: 07/21/11 06:12 AM ET

Even if the Rapture doesn't come May 21, maybe thinking about Judgment Day every century or so can be a good thing. The End of Times have been a popular source of inspiration for artists throughout history, and a number of important pieces depict humanity's last moments. Whether in the golden sunshine of Lorenzo Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise" or in the snarls of damned wrestlers of William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "Dante and Virgil in Hell," the imagery of apocalypse is unforgettable. In the slideshow below, we've compiled images from art history that give form to prophecies of destruction, desolation, madness and, occasionally, redemption.

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"The Garden of Earthly Delights," by Netherlandish painter Hieronymoush Bosch, gives humanity two options. The triptych contains a central, earthly scene, flanked by a panel of paradise, and, perhaps most memorably, a panel of hell (above).
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Filed by Travis Korte  |