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St. John the Evangelist in Art: A Look Back Through Time

3 min read
St. John the Evangelist in Art: A Look Back Through Time

Saint John the Evangelist is a figure who appears in the Bible and is venerated in Christianity. He is traditionally depicted as an apostle, and is often shown writing the Gospel of John or the Book of Revelation. There are numerous artworks depicting Saint John the Evangelist in The Metropolitan Museum, many of which date back to the medieval period. These artworks provide insight into how different cultures and religions have represented Saint John over time.

The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John

Dutch, The Hague? 1588–1629 Utrecht / The Met

    Painted roughly a century after the other works in this gallery, Ter Brugghen's scene of Christ's crucifixion draws on the dramatic, emotional appeal of earlier religious art to inspire the private prayers of a Catholic viewer.
    The Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist, who flank the cross, provide surrogates for the viewer's agonized beholding of the crucifixion.

The Lamentation

Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna / The Met

    Ludovico Carracci's painting of the Madonna and Child Jesus is a landmark of the Carracci reform of painting.
    The painting is characterized by a lack of idealization and a directness that sixteenth-century critics found shocking.
    The figures of the Virgin, the three Maries, and Saint John are strikingly stylized.

The Crucifixion

Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges / The Met

    In this poignant image, the Crucifixion is presented as an enactment of the written word due to the inclusion of Saint Jerome.
    The Church Father is shown as somewhat detached from the event at hand, apparently reading about it from his translation of the Bible.
    True to the account of the Gospels, David has provided an appropriate sense of time and space.

The Crucifixion

German, Westphalian, active ca. 1400–35 / The Met

    This Crucifixion shares a trait with other works of the so-called courtly (or International) style that prevailed in Europe in the years around 1400.
    The artist was one of the foremost painters in northwest Germany.
    The main panel is still in the Neustädter Marienkirche in Bielefeld, Westphalia.

The Lamentation

Spanish, Plasencia (?) 1510/11–1586 Alcántara / The Met

    Luis de Morales was celebrated for his devotional images.
    Their exquisite facture and morbid sensibility made them perfect vehicles for meditation and earned him the epithet "El Divino."
    He was the favorite painter of the religious reformer and saint Juan de Ribera (1532 - 1611).
    As one prominent scholar has noted:"No Spanish painter was ever to surpass Morales in expressing the passionate, personal faith of the mystical writers."
    This extremely fine picture was owned by Pope Pius VII and passed to his family upon his death in 1823.

Descent from the Cross

French, ca. 1510–ca. 1565 Bologna (?) / The Met

    This painting is a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
    The painting shows Jesus' body being lowered into the arms of Saint John the Evangelist under the anguished gaze of Mary Magdalen, who kneels at the foot of the cross.
    On the left, one of the other Maries supports the swooning Virgin.

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
-5 min read
From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
-4 min read
From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
-5 min read