A few words about why we’ve chosen Dürer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse for our homepage.
First, it’s one of the key subjects in the history of European Printmaking and as the Foundation is funded by the profits of my business as a dealer in in this field since 1971, it holds special significance for us. Indeed I’ve had the great pleasure of owning this subject on more than one occasion over the years.
Executed in 1498 as part of the artist’s Apocalypse series, the subject of the Four Horsemen refers to a passage in the Book of Revelations (6:1-8).
We’ve chosen to show the woodcut in three sections as a (very rough) way of illustrating the issues the Foundation addresses:
1) The upper section with the angel represents the solutions to problems that the development of social change philanthropy can help to find and to fund.
2) The middle section with the upper three riders represents the threat of climate change; the rider holding a bow represents Pestilence, the rider holding a raised sword represents War, and the rider holding the empty scales represents Famine – not improbable results of severe climate change.
3) The rider at the lower left represents Death, an appropriate symbol of global poverty, given that one third of all human deaths are poverty related.
You can see this wonderful woodcut for yourself in the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings Study Room.