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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Painting: Babylon, the Great, is Fallen
Babylon, the Great, is Fallen


Babylon, the Great, is Fallen
1992
Robert Roberg
acrylic, oil tempera and glitter on canvas
39 7/8 x 39 3/4 in. (101.3 x 101.0 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
1997.124.28
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"I have painted with the pure motives of sharing my visions of God with anyone who'll stop and look and listen." Robert Roberg, G. H. Vander Elst, Non-Traditional Folk Art, Tennessee (n.d.), Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, 1990-1999, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution "The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the Great was remembered in God's presence; He gave her the cup filled with the wine of His fierce anger." Revelation 16:19

Robert Roberg painted many images of the Apocalypse to warn people of what could happen if they did not follow God. Babylon, the Great, is Fallen illustrates a scene from the book of Revelation in which Saint John describes the destruction of the city (Tom Patterson, Contemporary Folk Art, Treasures of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001). In Revelation, Babylon appears as a temptress, "sitting on a scarlet beast . . . dressed in purple and scarlet and holding a gold cup filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution." The seven green hills below her are the kings who were seduced by her wicked ways, while the water represents all the nations under her power. Roberg surrounded the crumbling buildings with huge flashes of lightning and fluorescent colors to emphasize the violence of God's wrath. This artwork is currently on view on the first floor of the Museum in the Folk Art galleries.


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