by Anton Mutter
 

Anton Mutter (1932-1992), a Swiss painter and sculptor, was a graduate of the prestigious Kunstakademie in Zurich, and a longtime art teacher at the Cantonal Teacherís Training Academy in Sion, Switzerland, a college run by the Marianists until 1987.

Mutterís artistic vein draws its inspiration from two complementary sources. He is deeply steeped in the attachment to his native Wallis, the alpine region of Switzerland that lies at the foot of the world famous Matterhorn. On canvas and with watercolors he untiringly explores the pristine beauty of snow peaks, glaciers and mountain lakes. His paintings and etchings are full of the frugal charm and tranquil simplicity of sunburnt chalets, meadows, goats and sheep. Of similar importance to his art is the second source, Mutterís strong and earthbound faith in the spiritual values and traditions of his homeland. Over the years it has found a varied artistic expression in stained glass windows, sculptures, chapels and churches.

In Mutterís paintings and sculptures, nature and religion blend into one, into a poem of colors and forms in celebration of life. His art reflects not only the dialectics of birth, growth, death and rebirth as suggested by nature on the one hand, but also the unceasing combat between good and evil and the contrasts between time and eternity, as they are expressed in the spiritual reading of reality.

Anton Mutterís vast fresco of the Apocalypse reminds us of this synthesis of nature and religion. The vivid coloring, the dramatic dynamism and sensuous quality of the artistic expression take after nature, whereas religion punctuates the confrontation between the different realms of reality (heaven, earth, underworld), and the various phases of salvation history.

Saint Johnís Book of Revelation packs the whole of salvation history-from incarnation to eschatology in the short time span of a few visions, using thereby a perplexing abundance of symbols, protagonists and events. There is no easy way to understand the hermetic message of this visionary.

Mutter did his best to penetrate Saint Johnís mind and his sometimes bewildering imagery. Over a period of more than ten years he studied and meditated on the text of the Apocalypse and ever so often attempted to graphically express bits and pieces of his insights. During this time he would gratify his friends each year with a Christmas card reproducing elements of the Apocalypse, for example, one of the horsemen, the lamb, the horrors of the underworld. Only in 1982/83, after a long apprenticeship in reading and interiorizing, did Mutter set out to paint the whole of the Apocalypse in six tableaux. In fact, the six tableaux are interconnected graphically as well as from the point of view of content and constitute a whole, just as the various chapters of a book form a totality. The first (representing The Lamb and The Book) and last tableaux (featuring the Crystal Cube) represent the front and back cover of the book; they point out the origin and the fulfillment of salvation history. Tableaux Two (From Alpha to Omega), Three (The Seals and the Trumpets), Four (The Master of History) and Five (Christís Second Coming) constitute the chapters of the book, or, from the point of view of content, the succession of actual events in salvation history.


(Apocalypse)


The Revealing of a Secret
The Greek word apocalypse means an unveiling, the revealing of a secret. Books of this type have usually originated in times of severe persecution. They try to give the faithful the courage to survive by looking to the future.

They give an explanation of history and a promise of salvation. All of them say, "You may be living in difficult times, but persevere! Soon Godís kingdom will come." Apocalyptic writings present history as a battle between good and evil. Its message takes on the form of visions and voices, and generally uses familiar images, numbers, and symbols.

The Last Book of the Bible
The Apocalypse belongs to the Bible; it is its last book, and has all of the previously mentioned characteristics. However, it puts Christís story in the spotlight: Christ is the Lord. He is the master of history. He will return in glory to judge and fulfill everything. This is why the first words of the book are, "The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ." Not until our book was incorporated into the canon of Holy Scriptures, and the books were named after their authors, was it called "The Apocalypse of John."

The following pages reproduce the six tableau.  For the text accompanying and explaining each tableau, please click on the image.

 

he events of the Apocalypse represented in Tableau II-IV, occur simultaneously on four planes: in heaven, before heaven, on earth, and in the netherworld. The colors were chosen with these four realms in mind.

In Heaven
There is white and yellow, expressing the light of Godís glory that breaks into our world whenever he reveals himself in his messengers and in his saints. It will reveal itself fully at the end of time, when Christ, the Lord, returns in triumph.

Before Heaven
This is the setting, in deep blue, where good and evil, Godís messengers and the spirits of destruction, wrestle with each other. Here occur the events that lead to final decisions regarding salvation history.

On Earth
Here the color is green, a symbol of challenge and potential fruitfulness. Humankind is called upon to take part in the apocalyptic struggle, to side with ether Christ or Antichrist. John, the seer of the apocalypse, is clad in the color of this world.

In the Netherworld
All red is used to depict the netherworld. From its opened chasms surge the many faces of evil to torment humankind. In the end comes judgment. The enemies of God are thrown into the red pool of fire.

I.   The Lamb and the Book                                        

 


         II.  I Know You

 

 
 

   III.  The Seals and The
   Trumpets

IV.   The Master of       History       

  V.   Christ's Second
   Coming


VI.   The Crystal  Cube

 

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