Saint John the Evangelist

Object Details

Title:

Saint John the Evangelist

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

German

Date:

about 1120 - 1140

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold, and silver on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 22.9 x 16.5 cm (9 x 6 1/2 in.)

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At the beginning of the text of the Gospel of Saint John, the illuminator marked the new section of the book with a full-page author-portrait. The announcement Initiu[m] s[an]c[t]i evangelii s[e]c[un]d[u]m Johannem (The beginning of the holy Gospel according to John) appears above the portrait. John sits on a fancy bench next to a lectern that holds his writing utensils. On his lap he holds a scroll with the words In principio erat verbu[m] et verbum erat apud d[eu]m (In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God). The anonymous artist of this manuscript, like most German Romanesque illuminators, took delight in patterned ornament. He used multicolored fretwork and gold and silver interlace on the frame and variously patterned the marble of the lectern. He defined the folds of the saint's garments with simple geometric forms. Despite this stylization, John is a robust, full-bodied figure that commands the viewer's attention.

Related Works
Exhibitions
German Illuminated Manuscripts (October 23, 1985 to January 5, 1986)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 23, 1985 to January 5, 1986
Ludwigslust: Die Sammlung Irene und Peter Ludwig (June 19 to October 10, 1993)
  • Germanisches Nationalmuseum, (Nuremberg), June 19 to October 10, 1993
Ars et Ingenium: The Illuminator's Craft and Genius (July 26 to October 9, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 26 to October 9, 1994
Shrine and Shroud: Textiles in Illuminated Manuscripts (June 28 to October 2, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 28 to October 2, 2005
The Decorated Letter (2007) (November 13, 2007 to January 27, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 13, 2007 to January 27, 2008