Saint John the Evangelist
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Follower of the Egerton Master
French, Paris, about 1410
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment
7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

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Holding a chalice full of writhing snakes, Saint John the Evangelist stands on a narrow strip of green and gold floor and against a complex red, blue, gold, and white background. The power of the man is conveyed by his size and further emphasized by the volume of his orange robe, which extends from his waist to the fluttering piece of drapery at his shoulder. The snakes are a reference to the legend that John drank from a poisoned cup offered to him by pagan priests as a test of his faith. The figure's power is a visual expression of the fortitude of that faith confronting evil.