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The Destroying Angel, 1889

  • etching, paper
  • 112 x 152 mm
  • Inv. 1998-B-77

Public Domain

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Ensor repeatedly depicted the downfall of the world in paintings, drawings and prints. "The Destroying Angel" may have been inspired by the caricature 'The Czar', which appeared in the magazine Egalité on 6 October 1886. The galloping figure in the centre of the picture plane can hardly be considered a real angel, and is more reminiscent of the Germanic Walküren. The story goes back to a passage from the Book of Revelation, which mentions a rider on a fiery-red horse, sword in hand, who is bringing disaster into the world.


James Ensor RKD VIAF Wikidata
Ostend 1860 - Ostend 1949

Title The Destroying Angel
Date 1889
Period 19th century
Medium and support etching AAT
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings signatures (names) top right: Ensor
inscription on the reverse: AT
title on the reverse: L'ange exterminateur 1884
inscription on the reverse: 22 / 166
Collection print room
Object type etching AAT
Inventory number 1998-B-77
Acquisition credit purchase
Taevernier, Auguste (coll.)
Current whereabouts Work currently not on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300056485 fantastic art AAT
Keywords Iconclass 11G angels Iconclass
11G43 destroying angel Iconclass
25F animals Iconclass
25F2 mammals Iconclass
31A the (nude) human figure; 'Corpo humano' (Ripa) Iconclass
31A71 male sex; man Iconclass
31A72 female sex; woman Iconclass
31D15 adult woman Iconclass
45C13(SWORD) hacking and thrusting weapons: sword Iconclass
46A7 crowd, mob Iconclass
46C131 riding a horse, ass, or mule; rider, horseman Iconclass
46C13141 horse Iconclass
School / Style phantasy
satire (artistic device) AAT
Henri Leys, Henri de Braekeleer, James Ensor / Loys Delteil. - Paris : Chez l'Auteur, 1925 (nr. 77)
James Ensor : Catalogue illustré de ses gravures ; Leur description critique et l'inventaire des plaques = Geïllustreerde catalogus van zijn gravures ; Hun kritische beschrijving en inventaris van de platen = Illustrated catalogue of his engravings ; Their critical description and inventary of the plates / Auguste Taevernier. - Ledeberg (Gent) : Erasmus Boekhandel bv Amsterdam, 1973 (nr. 77)
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