The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint John the Evangelist

Object Details


Saint John the Evangelist


Frans Hals (Dutch, 1582/1583 - 1666)




about 1625–1628


Oil on canvas

Object Number:



70.5 × 55.2 cm (27 3/4 × 21 3/4 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

Observed by his symbol, the eagle, and poised to write God's words, Saint John looks up for divine inspiration, which he receives as brilliant light. Saint John, the Galilean fisherman who became one of Christ's apostles, is traditionally considered the author of the Gospel according to John and of the Bible's Book of Revelation. Hals used only light and handling of paint to create the lifelike, fleeting quality that made his portraits so prized. He chose a dramatic moment, then captured it with bold, spontaneous brushwork. A contemporary reported that Hals called the final touches he made to his canvases "putting in his handwriting"--adding the trademark highlights that give his pictures much of their sparkle.

Treasured by both artists and royalty, Saint Johnwas owned by painter Gerard Hoet and later by Catherine the Great of Russia.

- 1760

Gerard Hoet, Dutch, 1648 - 1733 [sold, Hoet sale, Franken, Thol, The Hague, August 28, 1760, lot 134 (set of four pictures sold together), to Jan Yver.]

1760 -

Jan Yver, born 1747 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

- 1771

Private Collection [sold, Rietmuler, The Hague, April 13, 1771, lot 35 (set of four pictures sold together).]


Baron F.W. van Borck, sold to Jan Yver, 1771.

1771 -

Jan Yver, born 1747 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

by 1773 - 1812

State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), the set of four acquired for Catherine II for the Imperial Hermitage by 1773; transferred to Tavricheskaia Geberniia (Tauride), 1812.

- 1997

Private Collection (Spain) [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 1997, through Pyms Gallery (London, England) to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits (January 30 to August 28, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 7 to August 28, 2005

Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen met derzelver pryzen. Zedert een langen reeks van Jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere Plaatzen in het openbaar vekogt (The Hague: P.G. van Baalen, 1770), vol. 3, p. 231, no. 134.

Minich, E. Catalogue des tableaux que se trouvent dans les galeries, salons et cabinets du Palais Impérial de S. Petersbourg (1774), no. 1897.

Kramm, C. De levens en werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche kunstschilders, beeldhouwers, graveurs en bouwmeesters [van den vroegsten tot op onzen tijd]. 5 vols (Amsterdam: Gebroeders Diederichs, 1857-64), vol. 2 (1858), p. 362.

Lacroix, P. "Musée du palais de l'Ermitage sous le régne de Catherine II." Revue Universelle des Arts 15 (1862), p. 114, no. 1897 (reprint of Minich).

Bode, Wilhelm. Studien zur Geschichte des Holländischen Malerei (Braunschweig: F. Vieweg,1883), p. 70n1.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 10 vols. (Esslingen a. N.: Paul Neff Verlag, 1907-28), vol. 3 (1910), p. 9, no. 7.

Linnik, I. "Newly Discovered Paintings by Frans Hals." Iskusstvo 10 (1959).

Linnik, I. "Rediscovered Paintings by Frans Hals." Soobcheniia Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha 17 (1960).

Slive, Seymour. "Frans Hals Studies." Oud Holland 76 (1961), p. 175.

Slive, Seymour. Frans Hals. 3 vols. (London: Phaidon, 1970-74), vol. 1 (1970), p. 100.

Montagni, E. C., and C. Grimm. L'Opera completa di Franz Hals (Milan: Rizzoli Editore, 1974), p. 92, no. 44 (as lost).

Slive, Seymour. Frans Hals. 3 vols. (London: Phaidon, 1970-74), vol. 3 (1974), p. 27.

Kuznetsov, Yury, and Irene Linnik. "Frans Hals: Saint Luke and the Evangelist." In Dutch Painting in Soviet Museums (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1982), unpaginated, under no. 125.

Slive, Seymour, ed. Frans Hals, exh. cat. (Munich: Prestel, 1989), pp. 195, 196.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 5, ill.

Annual Report 1997 (Sotheby's Holdings, Inc., 1997), pp. A1, B54, no. 1, ill.

Sotheby's, London. Old Master Paintings. July 3, 1997, pp. 48-50, no. 22, ill.

Hecht, Peter. Gelukkige momenten en gemiste kansen (Amsterdam: Vereniging Rembrandt, 2000), pp. 38-39, fig. 13.

Howard, Jeremy. Frans Hals, St Mark: A Lost Masterpiece Rediscovered (London: Colnaghi, 2008), pp. 3, 5, 8-10, 11, 16, 17, 20, 23, figs. 8, 31, 42.

Bernheimer, Konrad, et al. Colnaghi: Old Master Paintings, 2010 (London: Colnaghi, 2010), pp. 44, 46, 47, 49, ill., under no. 9.

Slive, Seymour. Frans Hals. 2nd ed. (1970; repr., London: Phaidon, 2014), pp. 110, 123, 124, 156, pl. 80.