St. John the Evangelist on PatmosArtist(s)Joos van Cleve
; Lucas GasselObject Creation Datecirca 1525Medium & Supportoil on panel, mounted on panelDimensions
28 ¼ in x 29 ⅛ in (71.75 cm x 73.98 cm)Subject matter
This painting depicts St. John the Evangelist writing the book of Revelation during his exile on the Greek island of Patmos. A pair of books, signifying the foundations of John's prophecy in the Old Testament, lie at his side, and an eagle, the symbol associated with John, has landed next to him. The saint fixes his attention upon the Virgin Mary who holds the infant Christ and hovers in the sky in a glowing mandorla as the "woman clothed with the sun" described in Revelation (12:1-6). The land falls away precipitously behind St. John and opens into a dramatic panorama of a bustling port and craggy mountains. Despite the great distance of the landscape we can discern, as if with telescopic eyes, myriad details that make the setting resemble sixteenth-century Flanders rather than a remote Mediterranean island.Physical Description
St. John the Evangelist sits in the foreground with a book open on his knee and quill pen poised over its pages. Two books rest next to him and an eagle has alighted on an adjacent rock. St. John looks up and to his right to see a standing figure of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ, who appear in a glowing mandorla hovering in the sky. A vast panoramic view of a bustling harbor and formidable mountains unfolds behind St. John and extends into the distance.Primary Object Classification Painting Primary Object TypebiblicalAdditional Object Classification(s)Ritual ObjectCollection AreaWesternRights
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