paper 224 g/m2
White wooden frame, Plexiglass
55 1/8 x 83 1/8 in.
57 1/2 x 85 3/8 in. framed
papier Canson 224 g/m2
Encadrement bois blanc, Plexiglas
140 x 211 cm
146 x 217 cm encadré
So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
The opening of the fourth seal sees the coming of the fourth horseman, and seals humanity’s fate. Bringing a host of scourges, his mortal attributes are cited in the signature of the drawing, in which the scythe wrapped in a banner is inspired by a famous American film production and distribution company. The roaring lion of the logo has been replaced by the artist’s initials but the original motto, Ars Gratia Artis, remains.
This pale horse lies on its side in the choir of a cathedral, Notre-Dame de l’Assomption in Rouen. Jean Bedez chose it for the violent, chequered history that has seen it ravaged by hurricane and lightning, and bombed (in 1944), but also deconsecrated during the Revolution and made into a Temple of Reason (late 18th century). In the foreground, the humanist globe embodies the universality of knowledge that transcends death (recalling its role as Temple of Reason), but it also symbolises divine omnipotence.
The themes of the scourges and mass death are symbolised here by a reproduction, to the right of the choir, of a painting made by François Arnaud for the second monastery of the Visitation in Marseille in 1721. It shows Purgatory and, in the skies above it, the Virgin Mary and the saints interceding with God and Christ for the souls below.
The horse here has been sacrificed, like Christ (their heads are aligned). The six candelabras mark out a path of light towards the redeeming Messiah.