Scenes of the Apocalypse

Scenes of the Apocalypse
 Leonardo da Vinci || c.1517-18 || Pen and ink and wash over traces of black chalk || 30.0 x 20.3 cm


Towards the end of Leonardo’s own life he began to consider the end of the world. Unlike many of the “Revelation” end of the world scenario’s he explained what he thought would happen in a more scientific way. This explanation could be realistic and is probably similar to what happened on mars - with the water retreating underneath the surface and without water the surface would become  ’deserted, arid and sterile’. 

"The watery element was left enclosed between the raised banks of the rivers, and the sea was seen between the uplifted earth and the surrounding air which has to envelope and enclose the complicated machine of the earth, and whose mass, standing between the water and the element of fire, remained much restricted and deprived of its indispensable moisture; the rivers will be deprived of their waters, the fruitful earth will put forth no more her light verdure; the fields will no more be decked with waving corn; all the animals, finding no fresh grass for pasture, will die and food will then be lacking to the lions and wolves and other beasts of prey, and to men who after many efforts will be compelled to abandon their life, and the human race will die out. In this way the fertile and fruitful earth will remain deserted, arid and sterile from the water being shut up in its interior, and from the activity of nature it will continue a little time to increase until the cold and subtle air being gone, it will be forced to end with the element of fire; and then its surface will be left burnt up to cinder and this will be the end of all terrestrial nature. “
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