Saint John the Evangelist

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Saint John the Evangelist is seated on a stone ledge. He holds a very fine quill in his right hand, while the other rests on a blank scroll which curls over his knee. He turns to look up over his shoulder towards a heavenly light, as if ready to take dictation from on high. Saint John was one of Christ’s apostles, and is generally identified as the ‘beloved disciple’ and author of one of the four Gospels; as such, he is often shown with writing materials.

This small painting was originally part of a large multi-panelled altarpiece made for the high altar of the oratory of S. Pietro in Vincoli, Faenza; some other parts are also in the National Gallery’s collection. It would have appeared on the upper tier of the altarpiece, opposite an image of Saint John the Baptist.

The National Gallery, London



Saint John the Evangelist




Oil on canvas


H 55.2 x W 57.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1859

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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