Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Saint John the Evangelist

Artist:
Upper Rhine (Switzerland)
Date:
ca. 1480
Culture:
Upper Rhine (Switzerland)
Medium:
Pen and blackish brown ink and gray wash over a black chalk underdrawing (still partially visible in the foliate forms of the throne at the upper right), the thin, pale lines of the preliminary ink drawing clearly distinguishable from the thicker, darker ones on top of them, which have dense, felt-like accumulations of tiny strokes in some of the shadows, but are by the same hand; traces of a curved line in black chalk and partly in brush and gray ink in the lower corners and at the upper right.
Dimensions:
10 7/16 x 6 5/8 in. (26.5 x 16.8 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.851
Not on view
According to the Golden Legend, the idolatrous priest Aristodemus challenged John the
Evangelist:
“I will give you poison to drink. If it does you no harm, it will be clear that
your master is the true God.’...The apostle took the cup, armed himself with the sign of
the cross, drained the drink, and suffered no harm; and all present began to praise God.”
Christ’s favorite disciple is seated here in a Gothic chair, his right hand blessing the cup of poison. The drawing presents a figure type found in paintings of the Upper Rhine. Trimmed to form a rectangle, the originally round sheet was probably used as a design for a stained glass roundel.
Marking: On the verso: traces of a standing female figure (?) in black chalk
Maurice Marignane, Paris (Lugt 1872 on the verso); Z. Rosenthal, Bern; [Schaeffer Galleries, New York].
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