Jean Fouquet ca. 1420 – 1477/81

Saint John on Pathmos

illumination (16 × 12 cm) — 1452-60 Museum Musée Condé, Chantilly

Jean Fouquet biography

This work is linked to John 1:1

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The apostle John sits on an island in a fictitious landscape. Next to him is an eagle, his traditional symbol.

According to tradition, during his exile on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, John wrote down a number of letters and visions. These were compiled as the Revelation of John.

The image is an illumination from the book of hours that Fouquet made for the French top civil servant Étienne Chevalier. His coat of arms is depicted between the two lower putti, with the text "Maistre Estienne". The other shield, carried by a third putto, came with Chevalier's position: treasury keeper of France. The right part of that panel was painted over in the 18th century.

In the book of hours, the image was next to the text to be read on Christmas night, starting with "In principio erat verbum" (In the beginning was the Word).

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