Saint John the Evangelist
Oil on canvas, 54.7 x 39.4 in. (139 x 100 cm.)
Above the saint's left shoulder is his attribute, the eagle. On the low desk at his right knee are what may be writer's implements along with a scrap of paper. Sometimes devices such as the scrap are used for the name of the painter, but in this case I cannot make out any writing on it at all.
The image emphasizes the saint's work as a writing-down of phrases given him from above. As
this detail photograph
shows, the phrases are from the first chapter of John, which was recited at the end of every Mass until Vatican II:
Elsewhere when John is shown writing the Book of Revelation the images usually make it clear that he is on an island, specifically Patmos. But here he is writing his Gospel, and the landscape in the background is non-specific.
Top of the left page: Omnia per ipsum facta sunt et sine ipso factum est nihil, "All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made" (verse 3).
Middle of the left page: Erat lux vera quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum, "That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world" (verse 9).
Bottom of the left page: In mundo erat et mundus per ipsum factus est, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him" (verse 10).
Top of right page: Et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (verse 14).
This image in full resolution
The detail photograph of the book in full resolution
More of St. John the Evangelist
Photographed at the museum by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.