The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Vision of Candles

Object Details


The Vision of Candles






London (probably), England (Place Created)


about 1255–1260


Tempera colors, gold leaf, colored washes, pen and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig III 1 (83.MC.72), fol. 3


Leaf: 31.9 × 22.5 cm (12 9/16 × 8 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

After the angel instructs him to record what he sees, John has his first vision: I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks. And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like the Son of Man . . . . From his mouth came out a sharp two-edged sword. . . . When I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. (Apocalypse 1:12-17)

The Son of Man described by John is usually interpreted as representing Jesus. Here Jesus appears with the sword emerging from his mouth, "clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded with gold at the chest. And his head and his hair were as white as white wool and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire." (Apocalypse 1:13-14) Surrounding him are the candlesticks that the text identifies as symbols of the seven churches to which John will bring his message.