Image: 19.8 x 37.3 cm (7 13/16 x 14 11/16 in.); Sheet: 19.8 x 37.3 cm (7 13/16 x 14 11/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1954.565
Catalogue raisonné: Passavant IV.303.1; Geisberg 1319
In this setting intended to be the Greek island of Patmos, the saint sits among northern European trees and towns, and even a northern ship on the harbor.
Christian tradition says that after Christ’s death, John the Evangelist was exiled to the Aegean island Patmos, where he composed the Book of Revelation based on a series of prophetic visions. Here, Saint John gazes upward toward a vision of the woman of the apocalypse (traditionally interpreted as the Virgin Mary) in the top left corner. The artist’s composition implies that John’s vision was partially inspired by his isolation within nature—portrayed in a wide expanse featuring dramatic peaks and fir trees, castles, farms, shepherds, and even a merchant’s ship on a vast harbor.
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