Saint John

Object Details

Title:

Saint John

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Byzantine

Place:

Constantinople, Turkey (Place created)

Date:

late 13th century

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold ink, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 21 × 14.9 cm (8 1/4 × 5 7/8 in.)

See more

See less

Though the tools of a scribe--a pot with two cavities for ink, a penknife, and two quill holders--are visible in and on the cabinet beside him, Saint John rests his chin on his hand, pausing from his Gospel-writing labors. This pose and his carefully rendered facial features combine to give him an air of meditative seriousness. His long, gray beard, a traditional author's attribute that derives ultimately from portraits of philosophers in ancient Greece and Rome, adds to the air of solemnity. This portrait of Saint John appears at the beginning of his account of Christ's life.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Faces of Power and Piety: Portraits in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (February 2 to April 18, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 2 to April 18, 1999
Five Hundred Years of Manuscript Illumination (February 11 to June 1, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 11 to June 1, 2003
The Alchemy of Color in Medieval Manuscripts (October 11, 2016 to January 1, 2017)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 11, 2016 to January 1, 2017