The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint John

Object Details

Title:

Saint John

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Ethiopian

Place:

Ethiopia (Place Created)

Date:

late 14th–early 15th century

Medium:

Tempera colors on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 89 (2005.3), verso

Dimensions:

Leaf: 33.7 × 23.3 cm (13 1/4 × 9 3/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Sam Fogg

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Object Description

In this leaf from a Gospel book, Saint John sits surrounded by his writing implements as he composes his Gospel text. The abstract treatment of the composition, with its emphasis on geometric shape and pattern, is characteristic of Ethiopian art of the period. Christian style and iconography began to appear in Ethiopian visual arts in the sixth century. Greek texts of the Gospels were brought to Ethiopia and copied into Ge'ez, the liturgical language of the Ethiopian church that appears on this leaf.

The greater part of Ethiopia's Christian art was destroyed during the invasions of Islamic armies from the 1520s until around 1600. There are only about thirteen whole illuminated Christian manuscripts created before the sixteenth century that have been identified at this time, so this leaf represents a rare early example of Ethiopian Christian art.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
The Gospels in Medieval Manuscript Illumination (October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 31, 2006 to January 7, 2007
Rare Finds: Ten Years of Collecting Manuscripts (February 12 to April 20, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 12 to April 20, 2008
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
Pathways to Paradise: Medieval India and Europe (May 1 to August 5, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to August 5, 2018