Saint John the Evangelist Writing

Unknownabout 1340 - 1350

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

In this image, Saint John is shown faithfully transcribing his divine visions of the end of the world. He sits cross-legged, writing the Book of Revelations with his quill and knife and two inkpots on the desk beside him. John seems to be receiving inspiration from the eagle, his evangelist symbol, which faces him and catches his gaze. By recording his mystical inspiration, John authenticates it and preserves it for future readers.

The artist shows Saint John as a magnificent figure, prominently displaying the writings of his divine visions. Against the bare parchment background, his impressive size, the delicate modeling of his body, and the elegance of his features have a remarkable sculptural quality. Seen as a supreme model for Christian devotion, Saint John's depiction in this manuscript reflects the increasingly central role he played in church sermons, commentaries, poetry and art in the high Middle Ages.


  • Title: Saint John the Evangelist Writing
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: about 1340 - 1350
  • Location Created: or Cologne, Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 45.4 x 30.5 cm (17 7/8 x 12 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 108, verso
  • Object Type: Detached leaf
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: Ms. 108, verso
  • Department: Manuscripts
  • Culture: German
  • Classification: Manuscripts


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