The Last Judgment

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Artist: Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, Cleve ca. 1485–1540/41 Antwerp)

Date: ca. 1520–25

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 48 3/4 x 34 in. (123.8 x 86.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Graham F. Blandy, 1940

Accession Number: 40.174.1

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 639

This majestic scene is divided into heavenly and earthly zones, which are linked by two hovering angels blowing trumpets. Christ appears at the moment of judgment in a burst of light and color, surrounded by clouds and putti and flanked by the apostles. He blesses the saved, shown at lower left, while Saint Michael shepherds the damned into hell burning in the distance at right.
The nudes in the foreground reflect the artist’s study of prints after Raphael’s designs, and the figure of Christ seems to be inspired by the famous ancient sculpture of the Laocoön.