Durand's dramatic canvas was inspired by a passage from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel (39:17) which foretells God's destruction of Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and the enemy of Israel. In the painting, the prophet Ezekiel stands on a promontory at the lower left corner, and at God's command he calls forth the predatory birds and wild beasts that proceed to devour Gog's troops in the valley of Hamon-gog. The painting's dramatic staging -the rocky crags, boiling black clouds, and jagged lightning bolts- is closely allied with the pictorial conventions of the eighteenth-century "sublime," or awe-inspiring, landscape. Durand stood at the forefront of the Hudson River School, and he typically devoted himself to straightforward forest scenes and contemplative mountain views. Only occasionally did he produce more imaginative historical landscapes like the Chrysler's painting. Its grandiose biblical subject was, in fact, chosen by his patron Jonathan Sturges, who commissioned the picture and had it shown in 1852 at the National Academy of Design in New York.