The last book of the New Testament, The Revelation of Saint John the Divine (often called “the Apocalypse”), describes the attempts of Satan to take over the world and the ultimate victory of Christ. On the front of this half-sheet a seven-headed dragon, a temporary incarnation of Satan, attacks the offspring of the woman (variously interpreted as Christians in their relationship to Jews, the Virgin Mary, and/or the larger Christian community). On the back, the Dragon and Beast, originally symbolizing Roman emperors and their heathen imperial cult, join forces against the Christian Church. The popularity of this text and its illustrations in the Middle Ages perhaps reflects both general anxiety in an age of unrest and an attraction to the fantastic.
Artist Unknown (French)
Title
  • Apocalypse Leaf Fragment: The Dragon Waging War
  • Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse, folio 26 (series title)
Date ca. 1295
Medium tempera on parchment
Dimensions Sheet: 4 1/8 × 5 3/4 inches (10.5 × 14.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from Founders Junior Council and the Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Ford II Fund
Accession Number 1983.20.A
Department Prints, Drawings & Photographs
Not On View
Daniel Burckhardt-Wildt (Basel, Switzerland);
until 1983, descendents of Daniel Burckhardt-Wildt;
1983-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Caviness, M.H. "A Man with a Dragon from one of the Tribune Osculi of Mantes." Gesta 26, 1 (1986): p. 129 (fig. 3).

De Winter, Patrick M. "Visions of the Apocalypse in Medieval England and France." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 70, 10 (December 1983): 399, p. 407 (fig. 20).

Emerson, R.K. and S. Lewis. "Census and Bibliography of Medieval Manuscripts Containing Apocalypse Illustrations, ca. 800-1500, II." Traditio 41 (1985): 370-409, nos. 38-117.

"Family Art Game," DIA Advertising Supplement. Detroit Free Press, May 18, 1986, p. 23 (ill.).

Henderson, George. "The Manuscript Model of the Angers 'Apocalypse' Tapestries." Burlington Magazine 127, 985 (April 1985): 209-218.

Kleinbauer, W., ed. "Recent Major Acquisitions of Medieval Art by American Museums: Number Five." Gesta 22, 2, (1983): 171-175, (fig. 9) (ill.).

Lewis, S. "The Apocalypse of Isabella of France: Paris, Bibl. Nat. MS Fr. 13096." Art Bulletin 72 (1990): 224-260.

Morgan, Nigel. "The Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse." Art at Auction: The Year at Sotheby's, 1982/83. London, 1983, pp. 168-169 (fig. 11).

Single Leaves and Miniatures. Sales cat., Sotheby's. London, April 25, 1983, lot 52.