Apocalyptic Imagery in Historical Paintings and Digital Art

Today we have something non-traditional, a collection of historical paintings and modern photo manipulations inspired by the “End of the world”. The end of times have been a popular source of inspiration throughout history, however we were mainly interested in how apocalyptic imagery evolved from early 19th century to nowadays. 

The collection consists of 5 historical paintings from 19th century and 6 modern photo manipulations. Regardless of completely different techniques used in those artworks, overall apocalyptic imagery and references have changed completely through several decades. Bible inspired paintings full of exploding volcanoes and perilous cliff-tops have been replaced with photo manipulations based on nuclear and natural disasters.

The shift of apocalyptic imagery through several decades perfectly reflects people’s perception about the possible end of the world. People have realised that nature is the most powerful force and we ourselves, not Gods, are responsible for the world and it’s possible ending.

 The End of the World (1851 -1853)

Apocalyse_historic painting1

The End of the World, commonly known as The Great Day of His Wrath is an 1851–1853 oil painting on canvas by the English painter John Martin.

Belshazzar’s Feast (1820)


Belshazzar’s Feast is an 1820 oil painting on canvas by the English painter John Martin.

Ahasuerus at the End of the World (1888)


 Ahasuerus at the End of the World was painted in 1888 by Hungarian artist Adolf Hiremy-Hirschl. This painting depicts the legendary Wandering Jew as the last man in the polar desert, caught between the angel of Hope and the spectre of Death.

Destruction (1836)


 The painting Destruction is a part of The Course of Empire, a five-part series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in 1833-1836. “Destruction” painting may refer to the Vandal sack of Rome in 455 AD.

The Tragic Conversion of Salvador Dali (After John Martin) (1988)


 The painting is actually a giant carbon copy of the famed John Martin work, “The Great Day of his Wrath” (1851-53) made by British artist Glenn Brown.

Armageddon 2012


Credits: Chris Law

Earth Reclaimed


Credits: Frenic



Credits: Roeyl



Credits: Kimotaker

Enter the inferno


Credits: Alexius

The End


Credits: Deadly-Wanderer