1296 – the cyclus of the Apocalypse of John in the Exonarthex of Karakalou

In the portico of the monastery Dionysiou you see the Apocalypse of John in 21 scenes, probably one of best fresco’s on the Holy Mountain. I showed you these scenes with extensive commands in post numbers 1100, 1103, 1110, 1113, 1126 and 1132. Most of these scenes also can be found in the exonarthex in the katholicon of Karakalou. Not as fine as the fresco’s and not as organized as in Dionysiou, but still worth showing:

Locusts falling from the sky with the sun covered by clouds (not a mushroom caused by an atomic explotion, as some say), with an angel above the scene, with a long horn and a key in his hand (on the Dionysiou scene the key is missing).

Apocalyptic scene: people are slaugthered by angels and numerous knights sit one lions with snake-tails, God with two angels overlooking the scene. Two saints are next to the scene, Vicarios and Achiaos (?)

On the right: Angels reaping and harvesting earth and left: “a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns”:

Detail of angels harvesting grapes

Chapter 8 of the Apocalypse

John continues in chapter 13 with three verses about angels, one proclaiming the fall of Babylon. Verse two: “And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard: and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion”.

Badly damaged scenes: horsemen on the left and disasters (?)

Right: “The vision of the woman clothed with the sun and of the great dragon her persecutor”. Left: Holy Saint with a winged and crowned dragon

Disaster strikes again: the black sun and red moon, wrecked ships and snow (chapter 8)

The four horsemen, including Death on the pale horse

Earthquake and falling stars with people hiding!

And I’ll finish with some other fine fresco’s, starting with one of the Pantocrator:

detail of his face: 

The Panaghia and the child Jesus


I hope the fresco’s will be saved and conserved in the near future, because their condition is in bad shape !

Wim, 24/4

(next week we will be in Greece with our familie,  this time not to visit Athos, but KARPathos!)

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