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German History in Documents and Images
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Coronation of two Devils as a Sultan and the Pope (between 1544 and 1558)
This woodcut is part of a series by the German artist Matthias Gerung (1500-1570). The woodcuts, which date from 1544-58, were designed as illustrations for the German translation of Swiss preacher Sebastian Meyer’s anti-papal commentary on the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation). Each of Gerung’s woodcuts takes an allegory from the Apocalypse and pairs it with a satire on the Catholic Church or the Ottoman Muslims. The woodcut reproduced below, which depicts both the Pope and the Sultans as devils crowned by their followers, is based on the allegory of the two beasts of the Apocalypse (Revelation 13). This type of visual juxtaposition was first made popular by Lucas Cranach’s series Passion of Christ and Antichrist (1521). Gerung’s series was never completed or published and thus remained obscure for a long time. Woodcut, Matthias Gerung, between 1544 and 1558.