updated 10/19/2007 4:41:12 PM ET 2007-10-19T20:41:12

A new exhibit on the Apocalypse opens Friday at the Vatican Museums with an unusually bright and almost devil-free image of the end of the world.

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Verses from "The Apocalypse," the last book of the New Testament also known as "Book of Revelation," glow from great dark-red panels, printed in ancient Greek with English and Italian translations.

Each verse is used to illustrate various works of art grouped around it.

But while "The Apocalypse" usually evokes Doomsday visions, remarkably few monsters and sword-bearing angels populate the works on display in "Apocalypse, the Ultimate Revelation."

In fact, the exhibition revives an interpretation of the Apocalypse as "a book of hope," Organizer Alessio Geretti told reporters, "where justice eventually triumphs."

The works range from the 4th to the 20th centuries, and include masterpieces from the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Thyssen-Bonemisza Museum in Madrid, the Capilla Real in Granada, the Tret'jakov Gallery in Moscow, the National Galleries in Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw, St. Marc's Basilica in Venice and the Vatican Museums themselves.

Slideshow: A papal decree Among the artists on display are El Greco, Salvador Dali and Giorgio de Chirico. Another of the exhibits includes Byzantine and Russian icons, including one of the vision of the Apocalypse from the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Patmos, the Greek island where St. John wrote the last book of the Bible.

"It is an iconoclastic show," museum director Francesco Buranelli told reporters. He said the show puts into images the visions that St. John the Divine put into words in "The Apocalypse."

The exhibition runs through Dec. 7 and is part of the normal tour of the Vatican Museums.

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