The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint John on Patmos

Object Details


Saint John on Patmos


Dunois Master (French, active Paris, France until 1463)




Paris, France; Tours, France (Place Created)




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

Object Number:

Ms. 7 (85.ML.27), fol. 3


Leaf: 11.4 × 8.3 cm (4 1/2 × 3 1/4 in.)

Credit Line:

Partial gift of Gerald F. Borrmann

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Object Description

Seated among rugged hills, Saint John concentrates on writing the Apocalypse. The surrounding water identifies his location as the island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse after the Emperor Domitian exiled him for spreading the teachings of Christ. The greens of the island landscape and the blue waters inhabited by delicate swans form a strong contrast to the saint's luminous white robes.

This image of Saint John writing accompanies a portion of his gospel, a standard element in a book of hours. At about the same time as Jean Fouquet painted the facing heraldic image, an anonymous artist known today as the Chief Associate of the Bedford Master painted this narrative scene. Especially inventive are the decorative borders with dueling grotesque figures--clever hybrids of men and beasts.

French Illumination in the Late Middle Ages (October 15 to December 29, 1991)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 15 to December 29, 1991
French Manuscript Illumination of the Late Middle Ages (August 3 to September 26, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 3 to September 26, 1999
A Treasury of Fifteenth Century Manuscript Illumination (March 26 to June 16, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 26 to June 16, 2002
Medieval Beasts (May 1 to July 29, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 29, 2007
Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France (February 26 to May 29, 2011)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, February 26 to May 29, 2011